Cardiac arrest: 'Family friend saved my life, not once but twice'

Image source, Welsh Ambulance Service
Image caption,
Ioan Kennard in hospital in Italy after his cardiac arrest

A schoolboy who had a cardiac arrest on two separate occasions was saved by the same family friend - both times.

Ioan Kennard says he owes his life to paramedic Dave Moodley who was twice in the right place at the right time.

The 17-year-old, born with a congenital heart defect, was first saved by Mr Moodley when he fell unconscious on holiday in the sea in Italy in 2019.

Ioan then collapsed near his house in Rhondda Cynon Taf in January as he went to catch the school bus.

"I can't thank Dave enough," said Ioan.

"Not just for what he did at the time but for the emotional support he gave to my family when I was in hospital."

On both occasions, off-duty paramedic Mr Moodley was one of the first on the scene and delivered CPR which his neighbour Ioan and his family believe saved his life - on both occasions.

Now Mr Moodley has been honoured for his efforts with a People's Choice Award at the Welsh Ambulance Service's staff awards ceremony.

"By sheer luck, Dave was in the right place at the right time and managed to be an integral part in Ioan's survival," said Ioan's mum Rachael. "Without him, our son would not be alive."

Image source, Welsh Ambulance Service
Image caption,
Paramedic Dave (centre) with his and Ioan's family on holiday

Ioan had already undergone childhood surgery before his sudden cardiac arrest on a family holiday in the Umbria region of Italy last year.

His mother, who works as a teacher, recalls: "I saw three people pull an unconscious person from the water, and as I ran to help them, I realised it was Ioan. My first reaction was to get Dave."

Mr Moodley, who lives three doors down from the Kennards, went on: "There were lifeguards on the beach who were able to retrieve a defibrillator that we could also use to deliver a shock to Ioan."

Ioan was airlifted to hospital in Ancona where he remained on life support for a week before being discharged after an apparent full recovery a week later.

Image source, Welsh Ambulance Service
Image caption,
The Kennard and Moodley families lived on the same street in south Wales and go on holiday together

But in January, Mr Moodley, a Welsh Ambulance Service paramedic of 11 years, did it again.

Ioan stopped breathing and collapsed without warning while walking to catch the school bus with younger brother Arwel.

By chance, off-duty Mr Moodley, who had just dropped his daughter Bethan off at school, was there to help,

Image source, Welsh Ambulance Service
Image caption,
Dave Moodley was praised by his colleagues at Welsh Ambulance Service

"It's a bizarre sequence of events," said Mr Moodley. "As a paramedic in a cardiac arrest scenario, the adrenaline kicks in and you just go into autopilot.

"It was only afterwards once I'd stepped away did it all start to sink in. The fact I knew Ioan makes it all the more terrifying."

Ioan was taken to hospital in Cardiff where he surgery. After six weeks in hospital, five of which in intensive care, he was discharged.

The aspiring football coach will likely need more surgery but for now, his condition is monitored through an annual check-up.

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