Club staff save life of swimmer

The fast actions of Exeter Golf and Country Club staff saved the life of one of their club members, when he suffered a major heart attack.

Mike Ritchie, 61, became unconscious whilst gripped by a severe heart attack as he sat in the jacuzzi at the club. A fellow member, Janice Voce, raised the alarm with 17 year old lifeguard Elliot Chandler, when she noticed Mr Ritchie slumped in the water. Elliot who has been a lifeguard for less than a year reacted immediately and with his fellow Lifeguard, Luke, pulled Mr Ritchie out of the water while pressing the alarm to summon other members of staff.

Dan Shiguemiti, a First Aid Instructor and Head of Pools at Exeter Golf and Country Club, was on the scene within seconds, followed by other team members, Samuel Bennett, Harriet Patchett and General Manager, Chris Jones. Elliot retrieved the defibrillator which had been purchased two years ago by member fundraising efforts.

Dan, who as an experienced First Aid Instructor had trained the other team members at the scene just a month prior, took the lead in the life saving actions that went on to save Mr Ritchie. Another member, a trained medic, also assisted on the scene.

The defibrillator was administered at the side of the jacuzzi until the paramedics arrived. Although Mr Ritchie’s heart had stopped, the swift and effective efforts of Dan, Elliot and the club team, helped to keep blood circulating around his body, keeping his heart pumping until the paramedics arrived.

After being rushed into the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Mr Ritchie went on to make a full recovery and has now returned to work in London.
Mr Ritchie lives near Exeter and has been a member of Exeter Golf and Country Club for four years. Following his traumatic ordeal and subsequent recovery, Mr Ritchie returned to the club with his wife, to meet Dan and the team, to thank them for saving his life.

Exeter Golf and Country Club are now purchasing a second defibrillator to be sited at the opposite end of the club to ensure a speedy reaction can be assured regardless of location in the premises.

Chris Jones, General Manager said, “I am delighted that Mr Ritchie has made a full recovery and that he is fit and well. Making the phone call to his wife to explain Mr Ritchie had been rushed to hospital was one of the most difficult moments of my career, however it was made easier because I was in the fortunate position of explaining that our staff and defibrillator equipment had saved his life.

“I am immensely proud of our Head of Pools and our lifeguards who changed the life of Mr Ritchie and his family in that their quick actions prevented his death. Elliot, Dan and the rest of the team have been recognised by the Board of Directors for their actions and thanked in person. The majority of our team members are trained in first aid so that we can provide a safe environment for our 5,000 members of all ages from babies to grandparents. As a result of this incident we are purchasing another defibrillator so that we are in the best position possible to deal with life threatening heart attacks as this simple piece of equipment can simply prevent death, which is worth every penny of the cost.”

Mr Ritchie and his wife continue to be members of Exeter Golf and Country Club and he is about to embark on his swimming fitness once more.

Elliot has been short-listed for the RLSS Lifeguard of the Year Awards.

Find out more about learning to be a lifeguard.

Find out more about the outdoor pool and indoor pool at Exeter Golf and Country Club.

Club staff save life of swimmer: team members and Michael Ritchie celebrate at the outdoor pool at Exeter Golf and Country Club

Exeter Golf and Country CLub news

L-R Elliot Chandler, Michael Ritchie, Dan Shiguemiti, Chris Jones