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”.