Health

Lifesaving lessons offered at Heathrow airport

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Media captionThe defibrillators give audible instructions to users on how to treat cardiac arrest patients

Passengers travelling through Heathrow have the opportunity to take a five-minute lifesaving skills lesson.

London Ambulance Service are offering to show people how to respond if they see someone suffering a cardiac arrest.

The demonstration includes instruction on how to use a defibrillator, a machine that can deliver a shock to restart a patient's heart.

Around 10,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in Greater London each year.

The training is part of an initiative to provide defibrillators in public spaces which can be used by members of the public until emergency services arrive.

Across London 115 cardiac arrests have been treated with defibrillators installed by London Ambulance Service since they became involved in the scheme in 2006.

The survival rate for patients in Greater London who receive defibrillation is around 29%, compared to just over 21% for those that are not treated with the machine.

'Save a life'

British Airways customer service agent Graham Clark suffered a cardiac arrest whilst at work in 2005 and had to have three shocks from a defibrillator to restart his heart.

Mr Clark said that the quick actions of colleagues and a Heathrow-based ambulance man saved his life.

"Without the paramedics of the London Ambulance service I wouldn't be here."

But he also encourages members of the public to take a few minutes to learn life saving skills.

"You don't have to be a professional to use a defibrillator machine. You can help get someone back and save a life".

Demetrios Geniris, a BAA service team leader, has twice used his training to successfully shock a patient's heart.

"You've just got to have the courage inside you to get the box out, put the pads on the patient and shock them if it tells you to.

"It's pretty simple, you don't have to be a medical professional. I've proven that," he added.

London Ambulance Service community defibrillation officer Martin Bullock, who is part of the team that carries out the training, said: "Five minutes is ample time to do the demonstration and show someone how to save a life."

The training instructs people to call 999 for an ambulance immediately, and then begin giving basic life support until medical professionals arrive.

Since January 2009, defibrillators have been used 16 times at Heathrow, with nine patients surviving to discharge.

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