Shock statistics highlight a lack of life-saving skills

14/4/11'Berkhamsted St.John Ambulance man Mick Mills training Gazette reporter David O'Neill.
14/4/11'Berkhamsted St.John Ambulance man Mick Mills training Gazette reporter David O'Neill.

WHEN Wayne Pope died after his heart suddenly stopped beating at the young age of just 30, his father started a campaign to help stop similar tragedies in the future.

Wayne was alone when he was struck down by Sudden Adult Death Syndrome on August 10, 2005, just nine days after his 30th birthday.

Dad John said: “As a family, you look for ways to fill your time and try to make sense of it all.”

He feels that Wayne’s life could have been saved if somebody had been there to administer CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) via a simple device – an automated external defibrillator (AED).

The machine gives an electric shock to the heart via two pads, shocking damaged cells into pumping blood back to the vital organ.

As part of the St John Ambulance Be The Difference initiative, as many people as possible are urged to take first aid training, which could save a life.

Mick Mills, division leader of St John Ambulance Berkhamsted, said: “Someone is going to die within three minutes if they have no air. You could be the difference between someone’s life and death before the ambulance comes.

“There are thousands of people walking about in Hemel Hempstead who would not be doing so if someone had not performed CPR on them.”

To learn these life-saving skills, reported David O’Neill took a two-hour training course so that he would be ready in an emergency.

He said: “I was also shown how to use an AED, but in fairness the machine tells you how to use it so it couldn’t be easier.”

To read the full feature, pick up a copy of this week’s Gazette, on sale now.