A TEENAGER has been inspired to change his career after he found himself trying to save a relation’s life.
Cadet Serjeant Daniel Wilkie, from Ryhope, resuscitated his brother-in-law Gary Thompson after he collapsed at his Wearside home.
Daniel, an Army cadet, spent more 20 minutes reviving the father-of-two using cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Sadly, Gary died hours later in hospital.
Daniel, 17, had been called to his sister Kelly’s home after she called for help when her partner Gary collapsed.
The teen rushed the few streets to the house and found Gary, who was in his 30s, was not breathing as he lay on the sofa.
Between them, Daniel and Kelly, 27, pulled him onto the floor and Daniel began to offer first aid, while his sister called for an ambulance.
Daniel said: “I just knew I had to do my best for my niece and nephew. I felt surprised about the award, I thought there were people out there more worth it than me.”
Susan Stebbings, Major and community engagement officer of Durham Army Cadet Force, said: “When the ambulance finally arrived, Daniel continued to deliver CPR while the ambulance crew set up around him.
“The ambulance paramedics eventually delivered three shocks from a defibrillator before rushing Gary to hospital.
“Sadly, later that evening, Gary died but Daniel’s skills might well have given him a chance to live he would not otherwise have had.
“One thing is certain, had he not continued to deliver CPR until the ambulance got there, Gary would have had no chance at all.
“Administering CPR to an unconscious casualty is a traumatic experience and there is a tendency to think you have failed if the casualty does not survive.
“In this case, Daniel’s confidence was initially undermined and he was reluctant to continue with first aid as he felt responsible for not saving Gary.
“It is a great testament to Daniel’s strength of character that, with the help and encouragement of his family and friends, he eventually overcame his reluctance to continue his involvement with first aid.”
Following his training, Daniel went on to represent Durham ACF in the County and Brigade First Aid competitions, going all the way to winning the ACF National Young Adult First Aid Competition in October.
Daniel was presented with a Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate by Nigel Sherlock, the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, in recognition of his actions back in March.
He had been taking a course to become a painter and decorator, but his first-hand experience of putting his first aid training into practice has led him to decide to become a nurse. He is working with Springboard and is awaiting an apprenticeship to be a nurse, with the aim of becoming a paramedic.
The presentation of the award means Sjt Wilkie has also been shortlisted for the annual Young First Aider of the Year Awards, which will be held in May.