A French cancer patient who took the wheel of an ambulance after his paramedic had a heart attack has said his actions were “human … not courageous”.
Christian Nayet, 60, who usually lives in Britain, is staying with his parents in northern France to undergo treatment for cancer.
Last week he had an appointment with his doctor.
“It was the last chance scan", he says. "They’ve cut out my stomach but the disease has spread to my liver. I’ve had chemo and two operations and there isn’t really much help. My days are numbered."
When Jean-Francois Pina, the paramedic taking him to the hospital, complained of pins and needles in his hand, Mr Nayet realised he was having a heart attack.
“I said, ‘Give me your keys, trust me. My life isn’t in danger and yours is,’ ” he told the Voix du Nord regional newspaper.
Nayet took the wheel and put on the flashing lights, spiriting the two of them to hospital in nearby Lens. There doctors operated on Mr Pina, while Nayet was left in the waiting room but given morphine for his usual pain
He got his scan three hours later.
An emergency room manager, Frederic Allienne, said that without Mr Nayet's help, Mr Pina "could have died".
Yesterday, after the story appeared in the Voix du Nord, Nayet received a flood of calls from national media.
On Wednesday afternoon, after turning down an offer to travel to Paris for a live TV appearance, he switched off his mobile and went to an art exhibition in Lille with his son.
"I made a human gesture, without thinking, not a gesture of courage," he told the Voix du Nord.