Date posted 21 Oct 2021

“Defibrillators can only save lives if people know where they are”.

That’s the message from Cardiff father-of-two Andrew Barnett, who suffered a cardiac arrest while playing football with his son at Eastern Leisure Centre - despite considering himself fit and healthy at the time.

The British Heart Foundation’s new campaign launched on Friday 22 October urges people in Wales to register defibrillators on a new national National Defibrillator Network database - The Circuit – which could help save thousands of lives from cardiac arrests in the coming years.

Andrew's story which - thanks to quick-thinking Better staff - had a happy ending  has been chosen as part of the campaign to highlight the issue. In the film, which has been broadcast on BBC Wales, the 48-year-old football player describes the scene in December 2018 when his life was saved by strangers.

“I’d taken my son to an adults-and-kids’ Christmas football match. I was running around as normal, kicking the ball. From what everyone tells me afterwards, I pretty much just fell straight on my face. It just happened instantly. I had a cardiac arrest.

“Two of the leisure centre staff members ran out with the defibrillator, which was kept at the centre. I think luck was a really big part of it - my location, the trained staff, the available defibrillator.”

Eastern Leisure Centre duty manager Ben Clarke says: “I grabbed the defibrillator from reception and ran out - as soon as I got there, I could see he was not in a good way, he was unconscious. I started CPR - a colleague started unpacking the defib. I continued CPR and the machine showed he needed a shock.”

With assistance from Better colleague Sheila Mott, they restarted Andrew’s heart before paramedics arrived and took him to hospital.

Andrew was treated for a blocked coronary artery with a stent and medication and has returned to an active life once more.

Andrew, Ben and Sheila are calling on anyone with access to a defibrillator to register as a defibrillator guardian on The Circuit.  Andrew says: “I think The Circuit is another emergency service. It's something that is going to be in our communities – town, cities and villages that will tell people and the ambulance service exactly where they can get hold of a defibrillator.  Register your defibrillator to help save more lives."

Adam Fletcher, Head of British Heart Foundation Cymru says: “Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest and, alongside CPR, prompt use of a defibrillator is critical in giving them the best chance of survival. To put it simply - knowing where the nearest defibrillator is, could be the difference between life and death."

 

Andrew’s Story English Subtitles Andrew’s Story Welsh Subtitles

Paramedic Carl Powell English Subtitles Paramedic Carl Powell Welsh Subtitles

Flagship Film English Subtitles

Flagship Film Welsh Subtitles

 

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