In recent months three of our members have taken ill suddenly and unexpectedly. Two of the instances started during a service in LMP. Fortunately all of them recovered quickly. Two of the attacks were as the result of heart problems, possibly with ventricular fibrillation. Over 170,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest in the UK every year. However many could have been saved if their heart had been shocked back into rhythm with an automatic external defibrillator.
Cardiac arrest means complete loss of the mechanical function of the heart. The hearts stops beating, usually as a result of an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. Cardiac arrest often occurs with the sudden collapse of the patient who has no pulse and is not breathing. Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, heart massage and possibly defibrillation to restore the heart rhythm to normal is needed until the arrival of the emergency services
The most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation - a rapid, chaotic, lethal rhythm of the heart. In this condition the heart is unable to pump life-sustaining oxygenated blood to the brain and other vital organs. Death occurs within minutes unless the normal rhythm is restored by defibrillation; defibrillation is the only treatment that can restart the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm in these circumstances.
The British Heart Foundation, (BHF), are recommending that defibrillators are made available in public places so that they can be used immediately when needed.
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) - These semi-automatic defibrillators are small, safe, simple and lightweight with two pads that can be applied to the patient. The defibrillator guides the operator step-by-step through the procedure for its effective use. It records and analyses the rhythm and instructs the user to deliver the shock using clear voice prompts, reinforced by displayed messages. This minimises any risk of the patient being shocked inappropriately. Anyone trained in the use of these devices and in basic life support will be able to safely and effectively use an AED.
We are proposing, with the aid of a partial grant from the BHF, to buy a defibrillator for LMP and have a small team of individuals trained on its use. We intend to raise the £550 that we shall need by special fund raising events. The first suggestion so far is a cheese and wine party at Vine Tree Cottage after church on Sunday 18th January, which will give people the opportunity to donate to the fund. Please make a note in your diary.
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