In August 2013, former Ryder Cup captain, Bernard Gallacher collapsed during a dinner at a hotel on the outskirts of Aberdeen.
Bernard had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Fortunately, the hotel had a defibrillator. Thanks to the immediate action of staff with CPR and early live-saving shocks from a defibrillator, he survived. He then went on to make a full recovery and has had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted to prevent further cardiac arrests.
In March 2012 footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch suddenly during a televised FA Cup match between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.
Fabrice had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, without any warning signs or symptoms, which caused his heart to suddenly stop beating.
Fabrice was given medical attention on the pitch, including CPR and defibrillation from an AED(automated external defibrillator) as frantic efforts were made to restart his heart.
Fabrice was rushed to London Chest Hospital, where efforts continued to revive him. By the time he was stabilised his heart had stopped for a total of 78 minutes and his heart had been shocked 15 times.
Fabrice’s recovery was remarkable. Within days his heart was beating without medication and he was sitting up in his hospital bed.
After being fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) he was discharged from hospital, less than a month after his sudden cardiac arrest.
On medical advice Fabrice retired from professional football in August 2012.
Many other less famous lifes have been saved
A defibrillator donated to Methwold High School, Norfolk, in memory of Joe Riley who sadly died aged 15 has saved the life of a teacher at the school. A former pupil of Methwold High School Joe Riley tragically dropped dead on holiday with his family aged just 15, the cause of death was SADS. Joe’s mother Annette, who is a member of the cardiac charity SADS UK, raised funds through the charity and the school was presented with the life saving equipment in his memory, so that if cardiac arrest occurred on the premises the prompt use of the defibrillator would save a life. In the event, this was exactly what happened when 36 year old teacher, John Scarisbrick suffered a cardiac arrest last April and collapsed in a classroom. A first aider, trained with help from SADS UK, carried out CPR and administered a therapeutic shock using the donated AED. Of course an ambulance was called immediately, but due to an accident on the A11 all the by-roads were consequently blocked and it took them longer to reach John. The clock is ticking from the moment a person goes into cardiac arrest and the chances of survival diminish with every minute that elapses without administering a therapeutic shock from a defibrillator; ideally this should take place within 3 minutes of the onset of cardiac arrest.
Dave and Robins story
Dave and Robin, who are fitness and leisure assistants at the centre in Telford, used a defibrillator and CPR to help the man after they were alerted by members of the public on Monday. Dave, 26, from Oakengates, immediately ran to the courts and found the man lying motionless on the floor.
He said: “I recognised the man as a regular here, but his lips were blue, his face was a funny colour and there seemed to be no reaction from him at all.
“I started to work through the CPR procedure and when we put the defibrillator on him it indicated there was no heartbeat and we would need to trigger a shock.
“By then Robin was working with me, as he had put in a call to the paramedics as soon as we knew a man had collapsed.
Robin, 29, from Shrewsbury, said: “Once we had delivered the shock the man seemed to come round and we restarted CPR, then the paramedics arrived.
“It was only after we handed over to the paramedics that we thought about what we had done, up to that point we both worked instinctively.
“It was as though we were on autopilot, we didn’t need to even talk to each other, we just did it.
“We train often, we know exactly what to do, we practise for this kind of thing and so when the real thing happened we were ready.
“I was a bit shaken afterwards,” admitted Robin, “but I also felt on a bit of a high, because being able to help someone like that, to save someone’s life, it makes you feel good.