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Ambulance campaign saves lives

Ten lives have been saved since the launch of a London Ambulance Service campaign which has seen nearly 500 defibrillators installed across the capital.

A total of 493 defibrillators – which are used to restart the heart when someone is in cardiac arrest – have been placed in shops, businesses and gyms across London in the six months since the launch of the ‘Shockingly Easy’ campaign.

The aim is to install 1,000 of the life-saving machines in the capital within a year.

Ambulance Operations Manager Chris Hartley-Sharpe said:

 “When you have a cardiac arrest your heart stops, blood is no longer being pumped around the body and you are clinically dead. The quicker that CPR and defibrillation is given to a patient, the greater their chance of survival.

“Around a third of people survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest, but where there is a defibrillator and someone trained to use it, the chance of survival can increase to 80 per cent.

“I urge every shop, business and gym to join our Shockingly Easy campaign by getting a defibrillator installed and training their staff to use it. Defibrillators are easy and incredibly safe for members of the public to use.”Cardiac patient reunion at Victoria Station 

Fiona Stoten, 52, was about to get a train home at Victoria station when she turned grey, stopped breathing and collapsed. Her partner David, a police officer, who was with her, and another passing police officer, Bill Rowlands, knew exactly what to do.

Bill said: “It was obvious that Fiona was in cardiac arrest. David and I worked quickly to give her life-saving CPR. I shouted to train staff to bring me a defibrillator and one was given to me within minutes. I placed the pads on her and the machine delivered a shock. We continued CPR until the ambulance arrived.”

An ambulance crew arrived on scene within four minutes and gave Fiona’s heart another shock. She was taken to St Mary’s Hospital where she was fitted with an internal defibrillator, which will restart her heart if it stops again in the future, and released two weeks later. She was back at work in less than three months.

Fiona said: “I feel extremely lucky that David and Bill knew what to do and that I collapsed in Victoria train station where there was a public access defibrillator. In my opinion, everybody should learn CPR and every public place and business should have a defibrillator installed so that more lives can be saved like mine was.”

London Ambulance Service Paramedic Hassan Shakir said: “When we arrived on scene, Fiona had already received CPR and defibrillation from two police officers. This undoubtedly helped to keep Fiona alive until we were able to reach to her and take over.”

There are now over 2,600 locations in London with at least one defibrillator and you should be able to find one in train and tube stations, museums and gyms.

Marks & Spencer, David Lloyd, easyGym, Heathrow Airport and Lloyds Pharmacy have joined the Shockingly Easy campaign by installing defibrillators in their buildings and training their staff to use them.

For more information on how to get a defibrillator for your business and training on how to use it call the Shockingly Easy campaign on 020 7783 2366 or go to www.londonambulance.nhs.uk/shockinglyeasy

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Notes to editors

  • For further information about the Shockingly Easy campaign and to request an interview or defibrillator demonstration, please contact the communications department on 020 7783 2286.
  • Ten lives have been saved by the use of a public access defibrillator in the first six months of the campaign, which may be one of the new defibrillators installed by the campaign or an existing defibrillator.
  • A cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping blood around the body. This is different to a heart attack, which is when an artery becomes obstructed, restricting the flow of blood to the heart.

  • CPR is short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation which includes chest compressions and rescue breaths.