Could you restart a heart?

Volunteers urged to come forward and learn resuscitation.

This week, literally tens of thousands of people, mainly children, will learn how to restart a heart.

Why is that important? Because, learning CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation could turn you into a lifesaver.

When a someone suffers a cardiac arrest, not to be confused with a heart attack, they are clinically dead; their heart has stopped beating and they will not recover unless someone is prepared to start CPR quickly and a defibrillator is attached to them to reset the heart.

This week, staff from West Midlands Ambulance Service will join volunteers across the region and the rest of the UK to train tens of thousands of children on how to do CPR.

Restart a Heart Day, which takes place today, was started by the Resuscitation Council and is supported by the British Heart Foundation.

The volunteers come from all walks of life; community first responders, local businesses, students and lecturers from some of our universities and other NHS staff. Together we will try to train as many people as possible in the life saving skill.

A cardiac arrest can happen to absolutely anyone; young or old, fit or not. That’s why knowing and being prepared to carry out CPR is so important, because the next one could affect a friend or loved one of yours; you just never know.

Here’s an example of how knowing CPR can save a life:

On 11th of November 2017, John Simpson was at home using an exercise bike, when he started to feel unwell. Initially he thought it was indigestion.

Call Assessor Pam Hall took his 999 call. She said: “I immediately realised it was rather more than just indigestion. Considering how serious his condition was, he just didn’t want a fuss. Thankfully John had had the presence of mind to open his front door, because as the first ambulance arrived, he collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.”

Paramedic Jas Nar said: “We immediately started CPR on him before attaching a defibrillator and shocking him once. Thankfully that reset his heart and he started to breath for himself again.”

Crewmate Chris Helm added: “If Mr Simpson hadn’t opened the door, we would never have got to him so quickly and the result would probably have been very different.”

For every minute after the patient’s heart has stopped, their chance of survival drops by 10%, so time is of the essence. Of the 4,000 cardiac arrests that the Trust attends each year, less than 7% of patients will survive!.

In a letter to the Trust, Mr Simpson said: “I would like to commend the actions of the 2 ambulance crews who attended the incident and undoubtedly saved my life. I would also like to commend to you the lady (known to me as Pam) who talked me through most of the wait and kept me appraised of progress.

“The dedicated professionalism of these five people kept me going until I was transferred into the hands of an equally dedicated and professional theatre team at Heartlands Hospital.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the actions of the crews allowed me to survive long enough to receive this life saving treatment. Their concern, tolerance and professionalism was a constant source of reassurance to both myself and my wife.”

You can learn basic life support in only an hour or two; why not make a commitment this restart a heart day to learn this life saving skill?