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Vital defibrillator role revealed in Jenny’s tale

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 20, 2014

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= THE vital role that defibrillators can have has been revealed in an extraordinary example of the lifesaving impact the devices can have.

The story of St John Ambulance volunteer Jenny Dunn and how she helped save a man’s life at the Great North Run has been revealed as part of the Mail’s Stay Fit, Stay Alive campaign.

The 50-year-old, from Moira, is a member of St John Ambulance in South Derbyshire.

Originally from South Shields, Jenny had been keen to volunteer on her home patch and so travelled back to the North East to cover the event as part of a team of first aiders in 2011

At the 10-mile point close to South Tyneside District Hospital, Jenny realised that a male runner had collapsed.

She and another St John Ambulance colleague, Ian Johnson, raced across to the casualty, and upon inspection, realised he wasn’t breathing and his heart had stopped beating.

Jenny and Ian immediately started CPR in order to restart his breathing.

This vital action maintained the man’s circulation and the flow of oxygen to the brain, without which the runner could not have survived for more than a few minutes.

The Red Cross Ambulance arrived on the scene with a defibrillator — a device which shocks the heart into restarting.

On the second shock attempt, the casualty responded and started to breathe again. He was then transported to the nearby hospital and a few days later was reported to be ‘doing fine’.

She said: “When we saw the patient there were no signs of life at all; his skin was grey and his lips were blue.

“So when we managed to get a response it was an amazing feeling. Because we were located so close to where he collapsed we were there in seconds.

“It all happened so quickly but, thanks to first aid knowledge and having a defibrillator nearby, we were able to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved on that day.

The Mail launched its campaign after a 64-year-old man was left brain damaged when he suffered a cardiac arrest while he was working out at his local gym.

The campaign has now been backed by former footballer Fabrice Muamba, MPs in Burton and South Derbyshire and a host of schools, gyms and charities in the area.

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