Paul Knecht may well be a young man with special needs but that didn’t hold him back in providing emergency CPR to a woman suffering a cardiac arrest.
Paul (20), who lives in Queensferry with his sister Anna (24) and mum and dad, Hilary and Gerard, had a severe form of febrile convulsions as a baby which caused brain damage, resulting in Paul’s learning difficulties.
Travelling to work at the end of May, Paul had just gotten off his bus on Dalkeith Road, opposite the Commonwealth Pool, when a female collapsed in front of him face down onto the pavement.
Paul was alone with nobody else on the street, however, quick-wittedly, he put his physiotherapist father’s training into action, listening to the woman’s breathing.
When he realised she wasn’t breathing, he called 999 for an ambulance. Not knowing street names he gave them the Commonwealth Pool as his location.
He turned the woman onto her back and immediately started CPR, which dad Gerard had taught him.
Paul continued with the emergency procedure supporting her head with his rucksack until she started breathing again.
He then comforted her before placing her into the recovery position as, firstly, a police car arrived on scene followed by two ambulances who took over at that point.
Paul’s next concern was how to tell his employers why he was late for work!
Keith Taylor, manager of the Salisbury Arms, said: “I am extremely proud of Paul and his actions on that day.
Many others without special needs would have been fazed with such a situation but not Paul - he just waded in and did exactly the right thing.”
Paul said the paramedics who attended the incident told him he had done exceptionally well and that both he and his dad should be very proud that their actions had helped save someone’s life.
Mum Hilary commented: “Paul didn’t even think to call us to say what had happened.
“It wasn’t until he arrived home from work that we found out about it, and that’s only because he had been worried he’d get a telling off for being late”
Paul said: “I was a bit scared at first, but then remembered what dad had told me to do.
“ I was very happy when the lady started breathing again and when the ambulanceman told me that dad and I had saved her life that day it felt very good.”
A former pupil at St Margaret’s Primary, Paul then went on to Woodlands in Currie before moving to The Engine Shed in 2010 - a project designed to provide life-skills and training to students who have specific requirements with particular learning difficulties or special needs.
Paul then managed to find employment as a trainee chef with the Salisbury Arms in Edinburgh, having gone there as a day release student initially while training at The Engine Shed.