Dave pays for new defibrillator after his own heart scare

December 28 2018
Dave pays for new defibrillator after his own heart scare

A WELLS grandfather who came close to death when his heart stopped twice has bought a defibrillator that might save other people’s lives.

Dave Reed, aged 65, was relaxing at home on a hot afternoon in July when he experienced chest pains and breathing difficulties.

The retired prison officer thought he was having indigestion. But his wife, Jenny, decided to call 999 because she was concerned it might be something more serious.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust Community (SWASFT) First Responder John Hill arrived within five minutes to give him routine treatment. But then Dave’s heart stopped beating, and he lost consciousness. John carried out CPR on Dave and used a defibrillator to get his heart restarted.

Then Dave went into cardiac arrest again. But with the help of paramedics John managed to resuscitate him for a second time.

Dave was taken by ambulance to Musgrove Park Hospital where he was given heart surgery.

He was able to go home three days later, and has gone on to make a good recovery.

Now the defibrillator he bought for £1,800 out of his own pocket had been installed at Huddlestone Court, South Street. Previously, the nearest defibrillators were at Wells Town Hall – which cannot be accessed when the Town Hall is closed – and the Swan Hotel.

“There was nothing round here. I hope the defibrillator will never be used. But if it is needed, it could help to save someone else’s life,” said Dave.

The VAT on the defibrillator was paid by the Mendip Casuals skittles team, based at The Venue, for whom Dave is currently playing his 50th season.

Dave meets John

Cody Worthington, SWASFT community responder officer for Bristol and Somerset; Jenny and Dave Reed; Anna Smith, SWASFT assistant community responder officer for West Somerset; and SWASFT CFR John Hill

He personally thanked John for saving his life when they met up in November for the first time since the incident.

Dave said: “If it wasn’t for John, I wouldn’t be here. He is my superhero. He deserves a medal. I’m extremely grateful to him and everyone else in the ambulance service who was involved. The first thing I can remember is waking up in hospital afterwards. It’s been hard to get my head round what happened to me. But I’m grateful to be alive.”

John said: “He fell sideways and went bright purple. When I brought him back, he was very distressed.

“In 17 years of being a CFR, he is only the third person I have treated for a cardiac arrest who I know has survived. It’s one I won’t forget.”

A cardiac arrest is a life-threatening event that occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body effectively.

Cody Worthington, SWASFT community responder officer for Bristol and Somerset, said: “The incident is a great example of how lives can be saved if the chain is survival is followed. That involves realising someone has stopped breathing, and calling 999. Then it is vital to begin CPR, and use a defibrillator if one is available. What our professional staff do is useless unless these basic steps are taken, and they are what save lives.”