A life-saving device? It’s up to the community

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Action taken within minutes can save lives

Imagine if somebody collapsed in front of you – and you had the chance of stopping them dying.

 

Having an accessible, fool-proof machine that could save a life installed in your community should be a no-brainer, right?

Automated External Defibrillators, (AEDs), mean people who are not even trained in first aid can still keep a cardiac arrest patient alive until ambulance personnel arrive.

They work by “shocking” a person’s heart into restarting within the crucial first few minutes – and can ensure a 60 to 70 per cent chance of making a full recovery.

Ambulance bosses want these to be as common as fire extinguishers.

I am told the 999 operator will give you the code to unlock the device from where it’s mounted (so it can’t be stolen, obviously).

Then the machine guides you through with spoken instructions. – once you’ve attached the pads to the patient – the machine will assess the need for CPR, and only deliver the shock should it be needed.

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You don’t have to be a superhero

In other words, anyone who’s inclined to panic (and let’s face it people do!) being reassured they will not be making the situation any worse.

Ambulances bosses I interviewed said the number of AEDs needs to be boosted five-fold in the county (there are currently about 1,000).

But they stressed that local people must come forward and tell them where they’re needed.

So of course, I thought – well, why not moot the idea of having one where I live? Obviously the easiest way to get the discussion going was – in my local!

The first person I spoke to, apart from emphasising that yes, the devices were fool-proof, said that ordinary CPR was just as effective, but as we were literally just up the road from the local ambulance station, he wasn’t sure that a request to have a community defibrillator would be approved.

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The 999 call handler should be able to give the unlocking code (Pic: BBC)

Like, hello?

A charity offering support getting these things installed is specifically asking people to come forward if you don’t have one within 200 metres of where you are!

The issue of panicking is one that we all agreed was very pertinent, but would it stop people having a go?

I then made a point of approaching another guy who’s a key player in the local residents’ committee – and surprise, surprise, they’re already in the process of getting one, having only just discussed the matter at their meeting last week.

Which I am very glad to hear. I still passed on the relevant contact details.

Authorities say the number of AEDs in one local town is four – but when you get out to another rural area, that figure rises to nearer sixteen.

In other roads, there would appear to be more self-sufficiency in the remoter areas, whereas an element of complacency remains, the more urban you get.

That attitude did appear to prevail in my straw poll, although I’m pretty confident most people do not think “there’s an ambulance ‘round every corner”.

I’m hoping that, for everybody’s sake, we won’t be denied an AED because of the ambulance station down the hill. And that we really will “be getting one”.

(Please note: the views expressed in this article are my own and not related to any organisation I work for.)

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Machines like this one tell you what to do
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From football pitch to operating theatre – and back?

How does a football club manager deal with injury – when it’s his own?

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Taking it easy ISN’T easy

Meet Richard Ibbs, 32, who is in charge of AC Milton.

Now it’s not as if he’s got access to the medical support and physiotherapy enjoyed by the likes of David Beckham, but that’s no reflection on his dedication to his club.

Rich sustained his injury whilst helping out his men.

“Basically didn’t have enough players to start the game with, we only had ten players so I decided to help the lads out and actually play,” he explained.

“So during the course of the game I was passing the ball with my left foot and a defender came through my standing right knee – and as they’ve taken it straight through, that’s literally thrown me in the air and snapped my patellar tendon.”

He wasn’t prepared for the pain!

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A team-mate donated a new pair of jogging bottoms!

“It felt like somebody had literally blown my leg off. It felt like I’d stood on a landmine or something like that – that’s the only thing that I could imagine it would feel like. The whole of the bottom of my leg felt like it was hanging off.”

After a disagreement with the referee about exactly how he was to leave the pitch, he ended-up having to be “manhandled” off by his team members, then taken to hospital.

Initially Rich thought he’d “just sprained something” but ended up undergoing surgery to replace his kneecap and stitch back his tendon, because there was a five-to-six centimetre gap between the ends of it.

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Rich in action on the pitch

He’ll be in a leg splint for four weeks, then in a brace with restricted movement for six more – and that’s before he even starts physio on the leg.

“If I was a tradesman, you’d be talking 10 weeks off work. Because I do have an office-based job, hopefully, I can possibly even start work from home maybe in four weeks, but it’s going to be quite a substantial amount of time off work.”

In the short-term, those 10 weeks will compromise pre-season training, and in the long-term, Rich has to come to terms with some very harsh realities.

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Anyone got a staple-remover?!

“I’m not going to deny it, it’s almost made me cry while I was in hospital when they said to me after the ultrasound, you know, ‘You’re probably not going to play football again’ or ‘You’re very stupid if you decide to play football again at a competitive level’.”

Rich has taken his side to Sunday Coors Premier League from the Third Division.

He’s keen stress his club is a work-in-progress – ” a group of friends who are trying to evolve a community football team that everybody can be proud of”.

I’ve got a hunch that no injury’s going to get in the way of this goal.