We’re committed to ensuring that everyone has the skills to save a life. That’s why we’re urging people to take part in the Restart a Heart campaign, beginning this Sunday 16th October and continuing throughout the month, to establish confident lifesavers across the UK– currently survival rates from out of hospital cardiac arrest are one in ten.
Over a third (36%) of UK adults do not have CPR life-saving skills to save a life in an emergency, and just under half (43%) would not feel confident performing chest compressions if they were to witness someone having a cardiac arrest.
With 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happening at home, a high proportion of people would not be able to save a loved one. Every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10%.
Marc Chaplin, from Billingshurst, Sussex, knows that his life wouldn’t have been saved without the help of bystanders when he suffered a cardiac arrest in December 2019. Marc, who was in his local supermarket at the time, said: “I’m eternally grateful to the bystanders who helped me in those first few critical moments. One was a nurse who gave me immediate CPR, helped by a local lad who gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Community First Responders soon arrived and got my heart going with the in-store defibrillator.”
“But that wasn’t the end of the story. When I fell to the floor, I fractured my skull. Those head injuries, along with the chances of suffering a further cardiac arrest, meant my life was still in grave danger. Thankfully, KSS were dispatched and I was able to receive life-saving treatment in a supermarket that would normally only be available in A&E. They decided to give me an emergency anaesthetic in the aisle. Once on the helicopter, they placed me on a ventilator and kept me stable until we reached St George’s Hospital in London.”
“I don’t remember the incident – just waking up feeling awful, but lucky to be alive. I spent two weeks in St George’s, first in intensive care and later for physio to learn how to do simple things like walk again.”
He added: “I felt very reflective after my cardiac arrest as I learnt that surviving an incident like mine is rare. I couldn’t share my story with you now without KSS and all the other emergency workers and kind people who helped me, and I will be forever grateful.”
Jo Griggs, KSS Paramedic and part of the Research and Innovation Team here at KSS said: “Marc’s experience highlights the crucial role of bystander CPR. In order for us to be able to help patients like Marc when we arrive on scene, it is vital that the bystander is able to follow the instruction given to them by both the emergency call taker on the phone and also our emergency medical colleagues whom may arrive on scene before us to give the patient the best chance of survival.
She continued: “Everyone can learn CPR so that, together, we can save even more lives.”
Restart a Heart begins on Sunday 16 October and continues throughout the month. It aims to raise public awareness of cardiac arrests and increase the number of people trained in CPR, so that everyone can be a bystander CPR hero.
The Resuscitation Council UK has produced a video to demonstrate how to perform CPR which is available here.
You can read more about Marc Chaplin’s story here.