What price, a life?

15 July 2019

Every year, around 20,000 Australians suffer a sudden cardiac arrest out of hospital and only about 10% of them survive. Their hearts stop beating and they collapse unconscious. Brain damage occurs due to lack of oxygen just three minutes after cardiac arrest without CPR. Death usually follows after 10 minutes.

Cardiac arrests occur in children and adults for many reasons, as the staff at Anytime Fitness in Noosa discovered late last year. A young, fit woman who was working out collapsed in cardiac arrest due to an undiagnosed, rare, heart disorder. Luckily for her, the gym had an AED (automated external defibrillator) on site and the woman’s heart was restarted before paramedics arrived. She’s now calling for all gyms to have defibrillators available on site.

In Queens last year, a New York firefighter was saved by a defibrillator that he’d lobbied to have installed at the firehouse where he’d recently been stationed. The first life it saved was his own.

Kerry Fisher, a distributor for Alpha First Aid in Brisbane, has a client who runs in a busy performance space.

‘He’d been saying to me for 18 months that he knew he needed to buy a defib, but needed approval. One day, a patron had a heart attack and cardiac arrest. Luckily, there was a doctor in the audience who performed CPR until the ambulance arrived.’

All’s well that ends well. The man survived and the client bought a defibrillator from Kerry the next day!

Alpha First Aid sells a range of defibrillators. The most popular is the Phillips HeartStart First Aid Defibrillator. This AED delivers calming, natural-voice instructions to coach anyone through the steps of first aid defibrillation and CPR. Even someone who’s had minimal first aid training can use it.

When another of Kerry’s clients purchased the $2300 AED, he remarked. ‘I hope it’s the biggest waste of money I’ve ever spent!’

However, the young woman in the Noosa gym and the firefighter in Queens probably think it’s the best value-for-money item on the planet. What price, a life?

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