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April 2023

Cardiac arrest survivor delighted with installation of second defibrillator in home village

Ian Westwood, now 67, was watching TV at home in St Mabyn when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed in his chair with no warning.

His wife Sue called 999 and ran to the local pub for the defibrillator which ultimately saved Ian’s life.

She said: ““It took three shocks on the defibrillator to regain a pulse, but Ian remained unconscious. Although I am a qualified nurse, I could not take part in the resuscitation. I kept our two dogs calm and watched from a distance.

“Three ambulances were on the scene within 30 minutes and Ian was semi-conscious by the time he was taken to hospital, where he was put on a ventilator in intensive care.”

Ian added: “I’ve got no doubt that I would not have celebrated my 67th birthday this year without that defibrillator and the support of many local friends that day. The help and support was utterly amazing.

“I am extremely grateful that the village now has another device.”

A defibrillator is a medical device which provides an electric shock, helping re-start the heart’s normal electric rhythm and significantly increasing a patient’s chance of survival.

St Mabyn’s second defibrillator has been fitted in the village shop by Duchy Defibrillators, a company which has supplied, installed and maintained hundreds of defibs across Devon and Cornwall for business and community use, helping to save many lives each year. The original defibrillator, at the St Mabyn Inn, has been used five times since 2019.

It was donated by the manufacturer’s Forward Hearts scheme, which lets survivors of sudden cardiac arrest pay it forward and potentially save another life by donating a defibrillator to an organisation of their choice.

Alan Odgers, owner of Duchy Defibrillators, said: “Ian is proof that these machines save lives. The defibrillator, alongside good CPR, helped to save Ian’s life that night.

“We look after the defib at the village pub and ensured if was back in situ ready for its next use, whenever that may be. Since then, the manufacturer has donated another defibrillator under its Forward Hearts programme, which we recently installed at the village shop. It is now up and running, in case the worst should happen.

“We make sure all our defibrillators are rescue ready, and also provide training courses to teach people how to use them in an emergency. You may have a defibrillator in your workplace, near your home or in your local community, but would you know how to use it?”

Ian had an internal defibrillator and pacemaker fitted and returned home from hospital after three weeks.

Sue said: “He is doing brilliantly, and we have been walking miles and miles and seen parts of Cornwall that we had never seen before. We are both much fitter and slimmer and are appreciating everything so much more since the event.”

Duchy Defibrillators would like to thank Ian and Sue for allowing their details to be shared to obtain the donated device; to St Mabyn Parish Council for purchasing the cabinet for the defibrillator to be placed in and for the maintenance of the device; to the village shop for hosting the defibrillator and providing the power and internet connection and South West Electrical Solutions Ltd for helping with the installation. A further extended thank you also goes to Tango3 who made and supported Duchy Defibrilators with the build of the app.