Sometimes the things that we know make sense are not put at the top of the priority list — until that is – something happens. Defibrillators (AED’s) are one of those things that we know makes sense.
Rosh Keegan the mother of a teenager who died from a sudden cardiac arrest 13 years ago knows it makes sense. She is spearheading a campaign now for the introduction of life-saving heart equipment in all schools. “It is “crazy” that defibrillator machines are not available along with standard first-aid equipment,” she says.
She was speaking last week at an emotional reception with Camden teachers. It is 13 years since her daughter, Ani 14, collapsed and died in the Sandall Road secondary school aged 14. The tragedy might have been prevented had school staff had access to a defibrillator.
“The government talks about defibrillators and better education – but it is only ever a recommendation. I say, Hey, come on, it’s time we did something about it. We need to change things. I think we could save lives together. Let’s use our loaves and get on with it,” says Ms. Keegan.
Former Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba who had a cardiac arrest on the pitch in 2012 knew it made sense too. His life was saved when his heart was restarted with a defibrillator. He too launched a campaign to get more life-saving equipment into public places.
We are not talking here about an expensive piece of kit – under £1000 – for a potentially lifesaving device. And it is not rocket science. They can be used by colleagues, relatives or even bystanders. In line with Resuscitation UK Guidelines we include the use of Defibrillators (AED) on all our Safe and Sound First Aid Courses and learners are always amazed at just how simple they are to use. (Click on link to see short Safe and Sound video on using a defibrillator)
Public access to a defibrillator will give someone suffering a cardiac arrest the best possible chance of survival.
‘Cardiac arrest does not discriminate’ – that’s the message after a defibrillator was fixed to the outside of the RNLI lifeboat station on Exmouth seafront.
Time is of essence if defibrillation is to be effective. Each passing minute decreases the chance of survival by 10%. According to the Resuscitation Council UK, defibrillation should take place within 3 minutes of collapse. And we know depending on where you are and the time of the day, it can take up to 10 minutes or longer for an ambulance to arrive.
Undoubtedly providing hands on CPR is a vital part of the process while waiting for the defibrillator but the casualty is unlikely to recover through this process alone. Defibrillation is required promptly if it is to be effective.
So it makes sense that defibrillators should be installed in public places and ALL schools. And it makes sense that first aid should be a mandatory part of the school curriculum. Disappointingly a proposed bill in parliament last year to make this happen was defeated. Why? I am baffled. Really what could be more important?
Spokesperson for the British heart Foundation said:
“If we’re to transform the UK’s poor cardiac arrest survival rates, we need more people to be trained in CPR. That’s why we are calling for CPR to be a mandatory part of the secondary school curriculum. “In parts of the world where CPR is taught in schools survival rates are double those in the UK.”
Come on – you know it makes sense