Family’s genetic ticking timebomb

This is a story about a remarkable set of circumstances and a remarkable family who have overcome many obstacles.

When the Wilson family’s youngest son Jasper was born, it was discovered he had a genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease which comes with few symptoms but can result in sudden death in otherwise healthy people.

The family then tested their older two boys, and it was discovered that Lewis too has the disease to an even more severe extent.

As a result, the family were advised that they needed to carry an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) with them at all times due to the risk of Lewis going in to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Luckily, with the help of a friend who crowdfunded for two machines, Defib For Life were able to supply the machines to the Wilson family immediately.

“They were amazing. I rang the founder Sue Buckman and told her what we had been told and she said she would pack it up straight away even it if took us three years to pay off because she wanted us to have it immediately,” Ms Wilson said.

Luckily, they did have possession of the AED, as in March on a trip to the beach, Lewis went in to SCA and the defibrillator was indeed needed to shock him back to life. He was rushed to hospital where he had open heart surgery and a cardiac pacemaker and implantable defibrillator were placed inside his chest. His younger brother Jasper will also need the same procedure when he is older, however in the meantime the family can rest assured they have the defibrillators on hand in the case of another Sudden Cardiac Arrest emergency.

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Thanks a Paramedic Day

Wednesday July 24th is Thank a Paramedic Day, an opportunity to thank these amazing people in our community who are so dedicated to their work as first responders.

Victorians can come together on this day to show their support and thank the emergency responders who make such a significant difference in people’s lives often in stressful and time critical circumstances.

As a proud partner with Ambulance Victoria, Defib For Life would like to encourage you to share a message or show your support on the 24th by using the tag #ThanksAmbos on your message or photo so Ambulance Victoria can see it and share it too.

GoodSAM app first responders

Since it launched in Australia in 2018 almost two dozen lives have been saved thanks to the “Good Samaritan” smartphone alert which dispatches bystanders with first aid training to nearby cardiac emergencies.

Here’s a story about how a doctors life was recently saved by an off duty paramedic thanks to the GoodSAM app.

Those who sign up to the GoodSAM smartphone app will receive an alert when a call is made to 000 about a Sudden Cardiac Arrest in their area. While an ambulance is dispatched the three closest people registered on the App will be given the address of the patient and the location of the nearest defibrillator so they can rush to help before paramedics arrive.

This app is now being expanded to all Victorians who are not only paramedics, medical professionals and emergency services personnel, but also those who have completed a nationally accredited first aid training course, with the hopes of signing up another 20,000 volunteers.

As Acting Premier Lisa Neville says, “with a sudden cardiac arrest, every single second makes a difference…being able to have someone right there on the spot can actually save lives”.


Visitor saved at local gym

Another story we want to share with you about the importance of having an AED in as many community places as possible, including your local gym.

68-year-old avid gym goer David Dempsey suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest whilst riding a recumbent bike at his local gym in Fort Walton Beach Florida. Staff spotted him slumped over unconscious with no pulse and immediately went into action.

They called emergency services, started CPR then applied the AED which likely saved his life.

Luckily David has made a full recovery, with a new stent in his heart and is now back on the bike.

Hear his full story here.

Uluru Rescue

A Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen anywhere at any time – even halfway up Uluru!

Luckily for the 64-year-old man who suffered a SCA whilst climbing the rock, there were several first responders around him that helped save his life.  This included two off duty paramedics from Tasmania who helped stabilise him, two Western Australian miners trained in vertical rescue who were able to perform CPR, whilst two off duty police officers went back down the rock to get a defibrillator, which shocked the mans heart back to a “survivable rhythm” within 5 minutes.

Read more about this complicated rescue here, which ultimately led to a good outcome for this lucky man.

Funding for 1000 defibrillators in caravan parks

The re-appointed Liberal Morrison Government has announced that they will invest $1 million to support the installation of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDS’) at camping sites throughout Australia, resulting in them being more rescue ready in the case of an emergency such as a Sudden Cardiac Arrest!

With camping being such a popular pastime for so many people of all ages, this enterprise will ensure caravanning and camping will be so much safer for Australians.

At Defib For Life our goal is that no Australian will be further than 10 minutes away from an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) unit. With this initiative, over 1000 Caravan Parks are expected to receive funding to ensure that defibrillators are installed on site, so campers will be no further that 10 minutes away from this life saving machine.

CEO of Caravan Industry Association of Australia Stuart Lamont who are partners in the project says “this program will ensure that …. lifesaving help is close to hand”.

Check out the announcement here.

A survival story from our friends at Zoll

Defib For Life works with the best Automated External Defibrillators on the market. One is the Zoll AED Plus.

Our friends at ZOLL AEDs have shared this great save story. Merle Glasser had no prior symptoms, no warning and for a few minutes, no pulse. His co-workers jumped in to help and saved his life.

Having an AED nearby makes a significant difference between survival and death. Life can change in a second – and with the push of an AED button you can save a life in seconds.

Contact Defib For Life today and learn how your workplace can become Rescue Ready.

One year anniversary for survivor of SCA

Last year Liam Birch, a healthy fit young man playing football for the Wallan Magpies Under 19’s against Rupertswood, suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest and collapsed unresponsive to the ground.

A spectator at the game Tony Freeman saw Liam drop to the ground and ran to his aid. “He just sort of stood there, dazed, and then face planted. Not a faint, but a total body drop. So, I jumped straight over and when I got there, he was making gasping sounds.”

“I knew it wasn’t right, I checked his pulse and began administering the CPR… then we used the defibrillator and it saved his life.

Liam’s father Adam also rushed to his side – “it was the most traumatic experience of my life, to see my son staring blankly with nothing there – it was horrific.”

When Tony activated the defibrillator it shocked Liam once and after about 10 seconds, Liam came to. “It was the longest 10 seconds of my life” says Adam.

Liam’s life was saved by Tony Freeman, a quick thinking first responder and with the use of a defibrillator.

This Saturday 4th May Liam will once again be playing football against Rupertswood Football Club. Sue Buckman from Defib For Life will be there to support Liam’s comeback and to witness the reunion between Liam and Tony. Adam Birch will be there too, continuing to advocate the importance of installing defibrillators in every sporting ground across the country.

What if I am uncertain about using an AED?

This is a great question, and not a silly one at all. Just remember this rule: if the person is not breathing and has no pulse or has an irregular heartbeat, prepare to use the AED as soon as possible. If the person is breathing, regardless of whether they are responsive (conscious) or not responsive (unconscious), a defibrillator is not required.

Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) like the ones you can purchase in our online store are small computerised devices that analyse your heart rhythms via adhesive electrode pads attached to the person’s chest. The AED determines whether a shock is required and what size of shock is required to the heart and will then deliver the shock automatically. The shock delivered by the AED interrupts the chaotic rhythm of the heart and gives the heart the chance to return to its normal rhythm.

They only activate when necessary, eliminating the risk of a user error. They can be used anywhere by anyone to administer a life-saving shock with audio and visual prompts to guide first responders through the necessary steps. You cannot harm anyone by using a defibrillator, you can only help save their life.

NSW Community Awareness & Response to Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA)

Defib For Life, along with other organisations, were recently invited to attend a Forum at the Westmead Education & Conference Centre in Sydney.

The purpose was to come together to give our ideas to the NSW Government Health Department on ways to increase the survival rates of Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests (OHCA). Sue attended and gave valuable insight to the work and survival rates here in Victoria, and to the processes that Ambulance Victoria have in place, such as the AED register, Community Awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and Public Access Defibrillators.

The Forum was attended by the Honourable David Hurley, Dr Kerry Chant PSM, NSW Chief Health Officer and Deputy Secretary Population & Public Health, along with NSW Ambulance.

The day included Round Table discussions on ways to increase public awareness of CPR, the need for Community First Responders, and Public Access Defibrillators.

It was a very interesting afternoon, and many valuable ideas and concepts were put forward for the Government Departments to consider.

It was agreed that all that attended would be asked to continue to support and assist in future meetings to help implement strategies.

Defib For Life will continue to support Public Access Defibrillators in NSW, and will attend further Forums later this year.