Journal Staff


By Journal Staff

A project teaming England’s North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) with the Bolton ICD (Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator) Group and the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust has proven a winning combination during its first year of operation.

The groups are promoting and funding the placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) where there is a higher risk of cardiac arrest, such as sporting facilities, shopping centers, and areas known for a high volume of tourists.

The first two AEDS were presented to Bolton Rugby Club and Harper Green School, and their placement has certainly added to the awareness of “the chain of survival” in saving lives in the event of cardiac arrest.

Rugby fan Derek Smith and his granddaughter Natalie Smith will be among the first to agree.

Derek Smith, 79, had a heart attack inside a car on the way home from a match between Blackpool FC and the Bolton Wanderers. The driver, Smith’s stepson, pulled over, and his scream for help alerted a police officer on duty at the station close to where the car was stopped. The officer’s action to provide CPR attracted several other people to the scene, including Tracey Garde, ICD chair and a registered nurse.

Next on scene came Lesley Hough, duty manager at the Bolton Arena where the game had ended minutes earlier. She had received the call from police and was carrying a portable defibrillator.

Derek Smith was “shocked” four times before the ambulance arrived, and he was taken to Royal Bolton Hospital. He was later transferred to Blackpool Victoria and made a full recovery.

Garde later posted a message on Facebook to illustrate the importance of learning CPR and the chain of survival.

“It was fantastic teamwork, and we all pulled together to fight for this lovely chap,” she said. “So pleased our efforts paid off and he is doing well—worth more than anything to hear that as so many out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients don’t survive.”

Steve Nicholls, a community resuscitation development officer at NWAS, said the lifesaving actions of the team show the need for defibrillators in public places (Amanda Alcock, Grandad, 79, “brought back to life” after collapsing at Bolton Wanders Match, The Bolton News, May 9, 2013).

“I am delighted with the outcome of this incident, it was a real team effort,” he said. “Effective CPR and having quick access to an automated external defibrillator (AED) ultimately gave this gentleman the best chance of survival. This incident really cements the fact that they do save lives.”