In my rounds recently, I attended to a patient who I will name Mr S.
He is 46 years old, a father of 2 school-going children.
3 months ago, he was playing street soccer with his colleague at a company-organised game, when after a second round of play, he collapsed by the court.
He was attended to immediately by the private ambulance paramedics on duty at that time.
According to his colleagues, the paramedics thought they felt a pulse, and they also thought he was breathing. But he was still unconscious.
On the way to hospital, the colleague who was accompanying him found the paramedics performing CPR on Mr S. No mention of any use of any AED or defibrillator of any kind.
Any now he is bed-bound, un-communicative, prone to contractures, and has to be fed via a tube through his nostrils.
So what went wrong here?
I have written a topic on this, and even had it published in our local press.
It was recently reported that the family who lost their husband and father on a country club grounds is suing the club owners for his death.
One of the reasons is that the club staff did not use their automated external defibrillator (AED), thinking that the victim had a “weak pulse”.
I had an article published in a local newspaper on this matter some time back, about the difficulty of healthcare workers not able to judge well the presence of a pulse in a cardiac arrest victim, let alone a layperson rescuer.
It seems that the public does not really understand the usefulness of using an AED on an unconscious person ( regardless on the rescuer’s perception of whether the victim has a pulse or not ).
The real value of an AED in your workplace or home, is that it is a heart monitor first, life-saving device second.
It does not matter what the reason is for the person to become unconscious. If the heart is in ventricular fibrillation ( the only proven time when the person can be saved ), the AED will tell you to press the button to give a shock. Otherwise, the the victim is already clinically dead or is still alive, in which situations the AED will disable the shock button and will not allow you to shock the victim.
We already have 2 events experience by our clients.
In this event, the victim was saved successfully and went back to his normal life and work ( as described by his sister about a year later ).
In this event, the victim was already clinically dead when the AED was applied.
Any comments on this?