Does your community have a defibrillator?

by Imogen Smith

Saving lives in Malton and Norton with the help of The Tom Parsons Trust.

On 23 November 2018, Sue and Nick Parsons from Malton, visited the British Heart Foundation Head Office in London to donate an incredible amount of £23, 809.61, which has been raised through The Tom Parsons Trust.

Sue and Nick lost their son Tom, unexpectedly, to myocarditis only two years ago. Tom was just 22 years old. 

“Tom was a sporty, popular and fun-loving lad. He always loved sport – he loved rugby and was captain of his year group team at Malton and Norton Rugby Club. He also cycled a lot, went jogging and was a member of the local gym. He was always active.
In August 2016, Tom went on holiday to the Greek island of Zante with his friends. Everything seemed fine and he texted home most days just to check in like he always did. One day, the boys decided to get a taxi to the beach. Tom had just got into the taxi when he suddenly looked like he was having a seizure. His friend tried to do CPR on him, and an off-duty doctor also helped, but it all happened so quickly and they couldn’t save him.”

Sue

Tom was athletic, fit and healthy and there had been no warning signs. The results of the post-mortem revealed that Tom had died of myocarditis.

Myocarditis is a condition, which is sometimes caused by a virus or an infection, but may happen for unknown reasons, which causes inflammation of the heart muscle. In many cases the condition can get better on its own, but in cases like Tom’s it causes severe damage to the heart and can lead to devastating consequences.

Since Tom’s death, Sue and Nick, along with help from Tom’s friends and family, set up the Tom Parsons Trust. The charity has so far funded 6 defibrillators in the Malton and Norton area and also money to support work by the British Heart Foundation to help raise awareness and understanding of myocarditis.

Since Tom’s death, Sue and Nick, along with help from Tom’s friends and family, set up the Tom Parsons Trust. The charity has so far funded 6 defibrillators in the Malton and Norton area and also money to support work by the British Heart Foundation to help raise awareness and understanding of myocarditis.

The Tom Parsons Trust has so far provided 6 defibrillators in our local area;

  • Norton College
  • The Croft in Malton
  • West Heslerton Village Hall
  • The Derwent Arms in Norton
  • The Royal Oak in Malton and
  • One Stop in Norton – coming soon.

If you are thinking about buying a defibrillator for your area, Sue says; “The most important things are to ensure that the defibrillator is easily accessible and also that it is compatible with Ambulance systems. It also needs to be registered with the Ambulance Services.”


About defibrillators

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high-energy shock is called defibrillation, and it’s an essential life-saving step in the chain of survival.

Advice from the British Heart Foundation says; If you come across someone who is not responsive and not breathing, then their heart has stopped working and they are having a cardiac arrest. The most important thing is to call 999 and start CPR.

If you’re on your own, don’t interrupt the CPR to go and get a defibrillator. If it’s possible, send someone else to find one. When you call 999, the operator can tell you if there’s a public access defibrillator nearby.

Defibrillators are very easy to use. Although they don’t all look the same, they all function in broadly the same way. The machine gives clear spoken instructions. The defibrillator detects the heart’s rhythm, it won’t deliver a shock unless one is needed. You don’t need training to use one.

To find out more visit www.bhf.org.uk

Yorkshire Ambulance Service Launches Life-saving App

Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) NHS Trust is launching a life-saving app which maps all the 1,288 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) across the county.

The Save a Life app tells you the location of your nearest AED and provides cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidance in the event of someone suffering a cardiac arrest. The app is designed to make members of the public aware of their nearest AED, as well as highlighting communities which don’t have a life-saving device.

Paul Stevens, Head of Community Resilience at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “There has been a staggering increase in the number of AEDs across Yorkshire; four years ago there were 100 and today there are 1,288. We also hope that communities which don’t have the life-saving kit will consider purchasing one via the various funding streams which are available.

“However, the app should not be used in an emergency. In the event of someone suffering a cardiac arrest, you should still call 999 and will then be told the location of your nearest AED and the code needed to access it. We would encourage members of the public to proactively use the app to locate their nearest AED so that they can be prepared for an emergency situation.”

The Save a Life app, which is iOS and Android compatible and free to download, was originally developed for South Central Ambulance Service by its partner, O2, and uses GPS functionality to show the location of the nearest defibrillator from wherever the user is in Yorkshire. (Please note, the Android version is unavailable at present; please do not delete your current version).

As well as storing the details of the 1,288 AEDs across Yorkshire, the app contains videos which demonstrate how to carry out CPR on adults, children and infants, along with a myth-buster section that dispels the most commonly held misconceptions about the risks of attempting CPR. The location of each AED on the map has been verified by Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the date of verification included so users can see when it was last checked.

An AED and its secure storage cabinet cost around £1,400. The Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charity provides part-funding grants for the kit, along with various other organisations including the British Heart Foundation.

If you would like to consider buying an AED for your community, contact: warren.bostock@yas.nhs.uk – East Yorkshire and North Yorkshire (East of the A1).

If you know about an AED which is not included in the Save a Life app, contact aed@yas.nhs.uk

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