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Off duty junior doctor praised for trying to save life of Boat Race chairman

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The actions of a junior doctor who gave CPR to a cardiac arrest patient on a moving boat during a river drama have earned him an ‘outstanding individual of the month’ award.

Quick-thinking Dr Dylan Whitaker, based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, came to the aid of volunteer medics trying to resuscitate a man during the recent Henley Four and Eights rowing event at Henley Upon Thames.

Foundation Year doctor Dylan was attending the event in his capacity as a rowing coach for the King’s College Boat Club Women’s side – and was waiting for his crew to finish their race when the drama unfolded.

He said: “I was sitting on the bank when I looked over and saw another crew had finished and it looked as if they had crashed the boat. The safety boat moved towards them, which is not uncommon if people faint or are slightly injured after a race.”

However, as the boat began to speed back towards the pontoon with its patient on board, Dylan realised that something more serious was going on, ran towards to pontoon and jumped into the boat to take over from volunteer medics.

Dr Dylan Whitaker - rowing coach for Cambridge’s Kings College Boat Club Women’s side.

Dr Dylan Whitaker – rowing coach for  King’s College, Cambridge, Boat Club Women’s side.

He said: “We took the patient off the boat where I re-started chest compressions – it was apparent that the man had gone into cardiac arrest.

“It was then I was joined by another doctor, and we carried on with CPR, located and activated a nearby defibrillator and waited for paramedics and the ambulance to arrive.”

The patient was Tim Senior, chairman of The Boat Race Company Limited (BRCL) but despite huge efforts in giving him the best quality care at the scene, sadly, Mr Senior later died.

However, Dylan’s professional, calm and focused actions have resulted in him being recognised by the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust – receiving an outstanding individual of the month award.

Dylan was nominated by the other doctor at the scene, Dr Eoin Dore, a critical care registrar from Thames Valley.

He said: “It was a tough situation, but Dylan displayed great leadership, followership, and defibrillator control with defibrillator safety. He communicated in a clear, calm manner and this allowed me to lead with larger situational awareness.

“This resuscitation attempt had a whole host of human factors that increased its difficulty, but it was Dylan’s calmness under pressure that increased efficacy for the team.”

Dylan joined the Trust earlier this year, taking up a clinical placement in ICU and respiratory after graduating from King’s College Cambridge, where his passion for rowing began.

In 2021, he was the Cox that led the Cambridge Boat Club Women’s team to victory in the 75th Women’s Cambridge v Oxford Boat Race.

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust Chief Medical Officer, Dr Callum Gardner, said: “Dylan’s care, responsiveness and quick thinking are all testament to his dedication and training as a doctor.

“I am very proud of his actions and am delighted that he has been nominated for this award, which is very well deserved.”

Peterborough City Hospital, Rutland and Stamford Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon are all part of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.

HENLEY STANDARD REPORT ON THE DEATH OF TIM SENIOR – FEBRUARY 2023

Tim Senior, 51, had been competing for Upper Thames Rowing Club at the Henley Fours and Eights Head  when he collapsed in the boat.

He is thought to have suffered a heart attack as the Masters D eight, for those over 50, paddled back to the club’s boathouse.

His crewmates tried to resuscitate him and he was taken to the event’s medical tent for treatment and then to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where he was pronounced dead.

The crew had just defeated a composite crew of Taurus Boat Club and Llandaff Rowing Club by about 11 seconds on the 3,000m course.

 

 

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