Council chiefs are supporting a European campaign after a South Tyneside man’s life was saved by a defibrillator.
The council’s public health team is backing the initiative of consultant community cardiologist Dr Michael Norton who has set up a not-for-profit organisation CardioProof to cut down on the number of deaths lost to cardiac arrest.
Having the right staff and equipment on site literally saved my life.Eddie Wilde
One man who owes his life to defibrillators, the equipment used to shock hearts back in to working, is Eddie Wilde from Jarrow.
The 62-year-old’s heart stopped when he was working out at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields.
But quick-thinking members of staff Matthew Dixon and Jim Tulip, who had been trained in CPR, used a defibrillator on Eddie.
This week they joined Dr Norton and council representatives to mark European Re-Start A Heart Day.
Eddie said: “I was dead for six minutes before I came round. It was pure luck that I collapsed where I did because having the right staff and equipment on site literally saved my life. If I had collapsed somewhere else, that would have been the end.”
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops. Less than ten per cent of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting survive. However, by having more people trained in CPR and more defibrillators in public places, the hope is that more lives can be saved.
Coun Moira Smith, lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “We train all our gym instructors in CPR and how to use a defibrillator.
“It is also incredibly important that we raise awareness of cardiac arrest and encourage people to learn about CPR.
“I am delighted to support this initiative and would encourage as many people as possible to equip themselves with the vital skills they need to save a life.”