The Campaign for Defibrillators to Become Available in Public Places

Defibrillators – a vital addition to the community

This morning’s BBC Breakfast covered Fabrice Muamba’s return to the Bolton ground after he collapsed at White Hart Lane during an away match a few weeks ago when his heart stopped beating. They went on to introduce the father of Oliver King, a 12-year-old boy who had died from heart failure during a swimming lesson.

The difference between the two cases was the use of a defibrillator or an automated external defibrillator (AED). Fabrice Muamba received treatment using a defibrillator during the first few minutes of his collapse. Oliver King’s family are now campaigning to make defibrillators more widely available to prevent other families from experiencing the same tragic loss they have.

What is a defibrillator?

Defibrillators are used when someone has a cardiac arrest and blood stops pumping around their body. The defibrillator is a portable device that delivers an electric shock to the patient that will hopefully interrupt the irregular or abnormal heartbeat causing cardiac arrest and give the heart a chance to establish a more regular rhythm.

They are vital because for every minute that passes without defibrillation, the person’s chances of surviving diminish by 14%. Using a defibrillator within five minutes of their collapse gives them a much better chance of survival.

Learning how to use a defibrillator

We run defibrillator training and are seeing more and more people coming on the course to learn how to use these life-saving machines. People are campaigning to have defibrillators present in schools and offices, at swimming baths and in parks, so in the not too distant future, more of us may find ourselves in a situation where we need to use one.

We think that defibrillators are as essential as fire extinguishers. Recent press coverage has made us only too aware that a sudden heart condition could affect anyone at any time, including super-fit athletes and young, healthy children – it is thought that more than a dozen young people die each week from undiagnosed heart problems.

You can learn how to use a defibrillator in one of our short training sessions. They aren’t as hard to use as you might think and if they become more available in public places, they could help save hundreds more lives every year.


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