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Defibrillator in Haddenham

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We've all seen the TV "Casualty" scenes: a stricken patient, a flat line signal on the heart monitor, and a long warning 'beep' ... the patient is zapped by medical staff using a pair of electric paddles ... the supine subject then convulses into a rigid arched posture, as the electric current causes his or her entire body to goes into an extreme muscle spasm. After a couple of attempts and some well rehearsed lines like "no output" or "still in VF", followed by a further zap, we eventually see the patient restored to the land of the living.

It's all very theatrical, of course — but the reality can be genuinely life saving.

There are various situations in which a person's heart rhythm can become seriously disturbed — the most obvious being a heart attack. Under these circumstances, a defibrillator can be used to restore the normal electrical signal that maintains a healthy and regular heart rhythm. The intervention can be life-saving.

Although training is needed, defibrillators are now available that are designed for use by non-medically qualified staff. Such devices have very clear step-by-step instructions displayed on the case, and a highly automated activation sequence. Having these devices located in public spaces, with key members of the community suitably trained in their use, has been shown to reduce sudden death rates from major cardiovascular events.

Lindsey McGibbon is delighted to announce that, through the fundraising efforts of staff and a generous donation by the Beer Festival Trust, Abbeyfield now has its own automated defibrillator. And given that the care home at Stonehill House, 106 Churchway, provides 24/7 care for its residents, this means that the defibrillator is also available round the clock for emergency use in the village.

We will publish more details once we have them. But grateful thanks are due to Abbeyfield and to the Beer Festival Trust for making this life-saving technology available to Haddenham.

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