Defibrillator 'will save lives'

Town's supply of treatment doubled

IAIN SCOTT
Last updated 07:59 13/06/2014
Defib
WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ
ON TO IT: Automated electronic defibrillator presented by St John to Raukawa Iwi Medical Service in Shannon. Pictured are recipients practice nurse Kate Palmer, left, and practice manager Michelle Ingham.

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Heart attack victims in and around Shannon no longer run the risk of the town's only defibrillator being unavailable.

St John territory representative Sarah Biddlescombe presented Raukawa Iwi Medical Services with an automated electronic defibrillator (AED) yesterday, bringing the number of the units in the Horowhenua town to two.

"I know there is only one AED in the whole area, and that's in the fire station, so if they're using it or they're not available, they don't have one here if the patient needs one," she said.

St John had been promoting having the defibrillators where people could access them, such as doctors' offices.

"There was also a competition running alongside, where they could win an AED. I'm not sure of the number of responses we've had, but I know that they are selling a lot of AEDs, and all the money from the AEDs go back into the ambulance service."

Raukawa Iwi Medical Services practice nurse Kate Palmer entered the competition and the practice, soon to merge with Foxton community health service Te Waiora, won the defibrillator, worth about $2300.

"I've always wanted one here," Palmer said. "I've been nagging for a while to get one, and I saw the chance to get one so I took it."

She said the equipment had been out of the practice's reach because of its price tag.

"It allows us to provide on-the-spot emergency care as opposed to having to wait for the emergency services to come to us."

The sooner a defibrillator could be applied to a heart attack victim the better the chance of survival.

Biddlescombe said the defibrillator was designed to be easy to use.

It monitored what was happening with the patient and would deliver a shock only if it was needed.

"Even if you've never seen one in your life before you pull the lever down and it talks you through exactly what to do.

"You can't shock someone by mistake, you can't do anything wrong.

"I guess the idea is the more people there are who know how to do first aid and who know how to use this machine, they'll save lives. As great as they are, the ambulance crews can't be everywhere at once."

There was a phone app available, AED Locator, which provided the public with information on where to find any of the units.

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- Manawatu Standard

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