Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Defibrillators installed at all stations throughout the Southeastern network

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Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have been introduced at 164 stations and 17 depots, providing step-by-step verbal instructions on how to administer a high-energy electric shock to someone in cardiac arrest.

According to the British Heart Foundation, more than 30,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals each year, with a survival rate of less than one in 10. If a defibrillator is administered within the first minute of a collapse, the survival rate can be as high as 90%.

David Wornham, Southeastern Passenger Services Director, said: “One of our main goals at Southeastern is to get everyone home safely every day, and having defibrillators available at each and every one of our stations will play a key role in that. This is such an important project as we know how important it is to have defibrillators on hand in case of an emergency.

“It is important to have them in accessible public places. At train stations, they can be used by employees, customers or citizens nearby. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, the first thing to do is dial 999. The operator can tell the caller where the nearest defibrillator is and give them a PIN code to access it from a secure cabinet.

“No training is required to use these defibrillators – the device tells you exactly what to do. I can understand some people being reluctant to use an AED but they are really very easy to use. We have staff who have saved passenger lives with a defibrillator, so we know how vital they are.”

South East colleagues Laura McMahon, 33, and Sebastian Szymanski, 45, were working at Maidstone East railway station when a customer came into the office and said a man suddenly collapsed and suffered a heart attack in the car park.

Passenger Stuart Legg had been on a day trip to London with his fiancé but had returned early, not feeling well and thinking he had indigestion.

Laura explained: “When something like that happens, the adrenaline just takes over. I grabbed the defibrillator and Seb and I went to the parking lot where another passenger was already performing CPR.”

The couple dialed 999, but before paramedics could arrive they were able to use the defibrillator to save Stuart’s life.

Seb added: “I put the phone on speakerphone so we can follow the directions that are given to us. The defibrillator explained us what to do and was so easy to use. It analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm and delivers a shock only when needed. None of us hesitated to help, because in a situation like this you just do what you have to do.”

Thankfully, the situation ended happily as Stuart made a full recovery. Laura has grown close to his partner Natalie and was invited to her wedding.

Stuart said: “I became ill very suddenly and suffered a near fatal cardiac arrest while getting off the train. Without the quick intervention of the staff and the use of the newly installed defibrillator, I would not be here with my family today. They saved my life – they are heroes. This device is essential and could save other people’s lives, as happened to me.”

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