“Yes I am here,” was what German doctor Jens Kleinfeld heard Christian Eriken say following the Danish midfielder’s cardiac arrest and 13 minutes of medical treatment on the pitch. “Oh sh*t, I’ve only just turned 29 years old,” Eriksen bluntly remarked after, according to Kleinfeld.
How to save a life
Kleinfeld described the harrowing scene in an interview with German publication Bild. He watched the Euro 2020 match of Denmark versus Finland originally from the stands on Saturday.
Before the game, Kleinfeld ran the sideline medical team through the emergency first aid medical procedures. After Eriksen’s collapse in the 43rd minute, he saw how the Danish team was reacting, and joined his medical team on the pitch. He said:
At first I didn’t think anything of it. But then I saw how the Danish team doctor was acting in quite a hectic manner. I recognised that it was no normal injury.
Once he reached Eriksen, Kleinfeld gave the Danish midfielder electric shocks with the use of a defibrillator.
According to the German doctor, the use of a defibrillator within the first two minutes increases the chance of survival of a cardiac arrest to 90 percent. Every minute lost decreases the survival rate by 10 percent.
'I'm fine—under the circumstances'
Fully conscious, Eriksen was brought to the hospital in Copenhagen, where the match took place. He remains hospitalized and has sent messages to his friends and fans since the incident. Eriksen wrote:
I'm fine - under the circumstances. I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay. Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches.
The Denmark team doctor said on Thursday that Eriken will be given an ICD, which is known as a heart starter.
After eventually losing the game on Saturday to Finland 1-0, Denmark has two remaining games to advance out of the group stage against Belgium and Russia.