This is the moment hero doctor Tom Prichard was given a standing ovation by the St James’ Park crowd after helping to save a Newcastle fan’s life.
Newcastle’s game against Tottenham on Sunday was halted towards the end of the first half when a fan suffered a cardiac arrest in the stands, with players urging the referee to stop play, and Eric Dier rushing over to the dugout to get a defibrillator.
The man’s life was saved, and now a video has emerged of two of the doctors receiving a standing ovation from the Gallowgate End as they returned to their seats.
In the clip, posted to Twitter, chants of ‘hero’ can be heard, while one man goes as far as to shake Dr Prichard’s hand before celebrating as though a goal had been scored.
The dramatic moment came as Geordie fans – many wearing traditional Arab garb – gathered at St James’ Park for the first time since the club’s controversial £300million takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium.
Hero doctor Prichard, who works in the A&E department of a north-east hospital and also part-time at Middlesbrough’s academy, appeared on BBC Breakfast on Monday morning to describe his actions and how it unfolded.
‘It all happened so quickly, to be honest,’ said Dr Prichard, who has been a season ticket-holder at Newcastle for 14 years. ‘I was sat in the Gallowgate End and I could see something was happening with the fans. They were calling over the stewards and first-aiders, and I could see a lady there doing CPR on someone.
‘As an A&E doctor I thought I’d better go and offer a hand if I can, and see what help I can give here. So I just got up and went over to help, really.’
Hero doctor Tom Prichard receives a standing ovation from the St James’ Park crowd
Prichard appeared on BBC Breakfast on Monday to explain how he helped to save the man
The game had begun in a party atmosphere with Newcastle fans celebrating the take over of their club by a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium and the departure of former owner Mike Ashley.
However, the occasion took a very serious turn when the supporter was taken ill after 40 minutes.
Prichard told the Telegraph that went he reached the stricken man, he was ‘lying on the chairs with no pulse’ and the St John Ambulance had already attached the pads of the defibrillator to his chest.
The first shock did not restore the man’s heart rhythm and the doctor continued with CPR. The second shock they administered was successful.
Dr Prichard went on to explain that the stricken man was incredibly lucky, with an intensive care doctor, a cardiologist, and St John Ambulance staff all on hand to assist and save his life.
After he had been stabilised, Prichard went back to his seat and his smile of relief is clear to see in the social media clip.
‘I do want to say, this wasn’t just me, so as I say – I had a friend helping out, Matty, another doctor, and the other two doctors,’ he continued on the BBC.
‘St John’s were brilliant, the club doctor came over to lend a hand. It really wasn’t just me, but I will say when I was walking back to my seat and 10,000 fans in the Gallowgate were shouting ‘hero’ at me, that is one of the best moments of my life.
Dr Prichard has been praised by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
Newcastle’s clash against Tottenham was suspended after a medical emergency in the crowd
Eric Dier sprinted to the Newcastle dug-out, calling and gesturing for a defibrillator
‘The most important thing is, this man got to hospital. I want to stress the importance of early CPR, early chest compressions, early defibrillation, is what saved this man’s life. So if anyone in the public were to see this happen again, chest compressions, CPR is what needs to happen, and try to get a defibrillator there as soon as possible.’
There is likely to be further praise for Prichard and the other medics in the days and weeks to come, with Allan Saint-Maximin putting out a plea on Twitter to find the doctors involved in saving the man’s life.
Elsewhere on Twitter, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust tweeted: ‘We couldn’t be prouder of Dr Tom Prichard, one of our A&E registrars, who came to the rescue after a fan collapsed at the Newcastle game yesterday.’
A defibrillator was handed to the steward following the medical emergency in the crowd
Prichard and his friend Matty, also a doctor, walk back to their seats in the Gallowgate End
Mehrdad Ghodoussi, husband of Amanda Staveley, pictured prior to kick off at St James’ Park has tweeted to say the man taken ill at the game is ‘doing well’
Dier and Sergio Reguilon also received a lot of praise on the pitch for their quick-thinking actions, with the latter asking the referee to stop play and Dier racing to the bench to get the club doctor.
The man who was taken ill is ‘doing well’, a senior figure at the club has said.
On Monday, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, whose wife, Amanda Staveley, is leading the consortium of investors which took over the club, said the fan – whom he named as George – is doing well.
He tweeted: ‘The real hero of the day thank you Dr. Prichard.
‘Thankfully George is now in a stable condition and doing well.
‘I’m sure the whole country is sending him positive vibes and he’ll be back in St James Park in no time at all.’
Meanwhile, a party mood had descended upon Newcastle and St James Park from early in the day.
There was a celebratory atmosphere with fans jubilant at the prospect of huge investment in their club following the Saudi takeover, as well as the departure of former owner, Mike Ashley.
Supporters hit the bars early, ahead of the 4.30pm kick-off, some wearing Saudi headdresses in recognition of the £305 million takeover, which is bankrolled by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, announced 10 days ago.
When Newcastle took an early lead through a Callum Wilson header after just two minutes St James Park was shaken to the rafters with the Newcastle faithful in raptures.
Newcastle United fans were in a party-mood ahead of their match against Tottenham Hotspur
But Toon could not maintain the early storm and were trailing 2-1 after goals from Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane when it emerged in the 40th minute that a spectator had suffered a cardiac arrest.
Players from both teams were told to leave the pitch and the game was delayed for 20 minutes. When it resumed, Tottenham scored again through Son Heung-min to take a 3-1 lead before half-time.
Newcastle pulled one back through an Eric Dier own goal with a minute to go, but it was too little too late for a side reduced to ten men after Jonjo Shelvey had been sent off on 83 minutes.
And by the final whistle the fans were calling for the current coach, Steve Bruce, to be replaced by the club’s new owners.
CARDIAC ARREST – WHAT TO DO
A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart suddenly stops pumping blood around their body.
It causes the brain to be starved of oxygen and the person will collapse suddenly and be unconscious, unresponsive and won’t be breathing or breathing normally – they may make gasping noises.
Without immediate treatment the person will die. If you’re with someone who’s having a cardiac arrest, call 999, start CPR and use a defibrillator if there’s one nearby. Follow the instructions from the 999 operator until the emergency services take over.
Starting immediate CPR is vital as it keeps blood and oxygen circulating to the brain and around the body. A defibrillator will then deliver a controlled electric shock to try and get the heart beating normally again.