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David Jones (BOC Healthcare), Rahul Patel and Tara Bonnett during the presentation of the AED to Rahul's school.
Lea Manor Recreation Centre is one of seven centres operated by Active Luton, a not-for-profit trust promoting and developing a wide variety of sports in this part of Bedfordshire. The sports centre is regularly used by local schools for PE and other sports activities.
In December 2013, 16-year-old Rahul Patel was taking part in a PE lesson at the centre when he collapsed. When lifeguard Jordan Batson reached Rahul, it became apparent that the boy was not breathing so he immediately began applying cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Team Leader Tara Bonnett brought to the scene the HeartSine samaritan 350P AED which had been added to the centre’s emergency medical kit just a few weeks before. After Tara applied the AED pads to Rahul, the device analysed the heart rhythm and advised Tara to administer the shock by the push of a single button. The two lifeguards continued with CPR until paramedics arrived and rushed Rahul to hospital. The lucky young man has since been fitted with a pacemaker and is expected to make a full recovery.
Active Luton took delivery of the AED for Lea Manor Sports Centre in late 2013 but did not expect to see it pressed into service so quickly. Although these units can be operated by anyone, it is always recommended that staff undertake a short training course in their correct use. In this case, Tara had completed her training just a week before the incident.
Active Luton’s Workforce Development Manager Carol Trower commented: “We had evaluated the arguments for buying an AED and had concluded there was a clear benefit to be gained from adding one to our inventory of medical support equipment. It was a surprise to everyone, though, just how quickly that decision would be justified in practice.”
Rescuers Tara and Jordan were later publicly recognised for their actions in a special awards ceremony in spring 2014. Active Luton’s Chief Executive Helen Barnett was full of praise for them, saying: “While incidents like this are very rare, it does demonstrate the importance of ensuring our staff are equipped to deal with situations like this. I am honoured that Jordon and Tara have been presented with this award. It is one thing to learn something in training; but applying it in a real life emergency situation shows real courage.”
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
With easy to understand visual and voice prompts, the HeartSine AEDs are used to administer defibrillation to victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
According to the Resuscitation Council (UK), “the delay from collapse to delivery of the first shock is the single most important determinant of survival. If defibrillation is delivered promptly, survival rates as high as 75% have been reported. The chances of successful defibrillation decline at a rate of about 10% with each minute of delay” (2010 Resuscitation Guidelines).
Increasing access to life-saving technology
BOC’s Donald Oleforo explained: “BOC Healthcare, a supplier of emergency oxygen and defibrillators to sports and leisure centres in the UK, partners with HeartSine to support the installation of AEDs in schools, local sport clubs and communities.
“As part of their campaign to increase public access to AED technology, HeartSine runs the Forward Hearts programme across the world. Under this initiative, a person whose life has been saved by a HeartSine defibrillator is given the opportunity to donate another device, free of charge, to an organisation of their choice. This enabled Rahul to present an AED to his own school.”
“We congratulate Active Luton for recognising the need for AEDs in an environment where all too often people suffer sudden cardiac arrest,” said Rene Williams, HeartSine’s Director of Global Marketing. “Our simple-to-use samaritan public-access defibrillators are ideal for these environments, where they can be used by rescuers with little or no training to save lives of people of all ages, as one of our devices did in the case of Rahul.”
Key benefits of AEDs
Immediate access to AED technology can significantly improve the chances of survival in an emergency (Resuscitation Council (UK) research)
AEDs analyse a patient’s heart condition and automatically administer treatment
The equipment can be used in an emergency by anyone
AEDs form an important part of any professional medical emergency inventory