AMBULANCE chiefs have revealed just how easy it is for members of the public to use a lifesaving defibrillator.
Bosses from East Midlands and West Midlands ambulance services spoke out as part of the Mail’s Stay Fit, Stay Alive campaign to have the machines fitted in all gyms across the area.
The push comes after a 64-year-old man was left with brain damage and seriously ill in hospital following a cardiac arrest at a local gym.
The defibrillator gives the heart an electric shock to allow effective cardiac rhythm to be re-established.
Pete Winson, paramedic and community defibrillation officer from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), said: “When it comes to cardiac arrest, seconds count and the use of a defibrillator, while our crews travel to the scene, can save a life.”
The best conditions for defibrillation are present for only one to two minutes of someone going into cardiac arrest, with success rates decreasing from then at up to 20 per cent per minute of delay.
The machines can be used by anyone who witnesses an arrest as the machine gives clear instructions on what to do.
The following is a breakdown of how to use one of the devices:
l Simply turn the machine on and take the pads out of the packet, and apply them to the patient’s bare chest as indicated;
l The automated voice on the defibrillator says in the background: ‘Connect electrodes’;
l Once the leads are connected to the patient’s chest, the machine will analyse what heart rhythm the patient’s heart is in. The machine will only recognise when a patient is in cardiac arrest; and
l If it recognises a patient is in cardiac arrest, it will then ask the user to deliver a shock to the patient in order to restart the patient’s heart.
The machines will only deliver a shock to a patient in cardiac arrest.
People cannot shock a healthy patient; the machine simply will not let anyone do that.
Mr Winson added: “When it comes to cardiac arrest, seconds count and the use of a defibrillator while our crews travel to the scene can save a life.”
EMAS has invested more than £120,000 in installing defibrillators in strategic places across the area.
More information is available at www.emas.nhs.uk/ or by visiting www.wmas.nhs.uk/