Mother of teenage survivor calls for more life-saving equipment

The mother of a teenager who survived a cardiac arrest is calling for more life-saving equipment to be made available to the public.

Sarah Doherty’s son, James, 13, was clinically dead for around 10 minutes when his heart stopped beating while playing tennis in Enfield in September.

Quick-thinking bystanders Alan Percy and Karen Browne and ambulance staff Amy Cocker, Simon Probert, Darren Ticehurst and Claire Howard were able to get James’ heart beating again using basic life-support and a defibrillator (a machine used to restart someone’s heart with an electric shock).

Now Sarah, from Codicote in Hertfordshire, wants more defibrillators to be made available in public places and more basic life-support courses available in communities so that people like her son have the best chance of survival.

Sarah said: “The most important thing we’ve all learned from James’ survival is that lives can be saved if someone calls 999 immediately and is then prepared to help while an ambulance is on the way.

“Without the help of Alan and Karen and the ambulance staff James wouldn’t be here now, it’s like he has two birthdays!”

Paramedic Amy, who delivered the shock to James’ heart to restart it, said: “Alan and Karen really made a difference in saving James’ life. Ambulance staff will get to a patient in cardiac arrest as quickly as possible, but if someone is giving basic life support straight away it gives the patient the best chance of survival.

“The Service already maintains over 400 defibrillators in public places around London, and has trained over 4,500 people to use them, but more lives can be saved.”

Alan Percy said: “When I saw James collapse I knew that something was really wrong. I just had to help him, and this is something anyone can do.”

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Notes to editors:

For further information about the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7921 5113.

The London Ambulance Service provides free cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to the public and to businesses at a cost.  People who are interested in learning CPR and how to save a life in a medical emergency should call 020 7463 3120 or email [email protected].

The British Heart Foundation is currently running a campaign to raise money for more public-access defibrillators in London. For more information call 01892 890002.