Calls For Defibrillators In All North East Schools

28 May 2015, 05:00

The dad of a County Durham girl, who had a cardiac arrest, wants all schools in our region to be fitted with a defibrillator.

Grace Merrington, who's nine and from Willington, fell ill during a PE lesson at school in March last year.

Her school didn't have a defibrillator but she was saved thanks to the speed of the ambulance in getting to the scene. 

Her dad Ian is now calling for all schools across the North East to be fitted with the life-saving equipment, in case another young child suffers an unexpected attack.

Ian Merrington said:
"If a child in a school has a cardiac arrest the ability to use a defibrillator could save that child's life."

"We didn't expect it, Grace walked to school and she didn't have any history of heart problems - it was a defibrillator that saved her life."

"When I got into school there were two paramedic teams working on her and we didn't really take in what was happening to her."

"There were a lot of words being used like 'Sudden Death Syndrome' and 'cardiac arrest'."

"She was put into an induced coma for two weeks and essentially the staff at the school and the paramedics saved her life."

More than half of North East schools still don't have a defibrillator, so would be relying on an ambulance to save a child's life should they have a cardiac arrest.

The charity North East Hearts With Goals are working to change that.

It's already given out 48 defibrillators in schools and social clubs in North Tyneside and is now discussing the opportunity of handing out more in other parts of the region.

Christine Stephenson is from the charity and said:
"When a sudden cardiac arrest happens you've literally got three or four minutes to deploy a defibrillator so it's crucial they are on site because if they're used your chances of survival increase by 70%."

"It's a matter of life and death."

"If you're in cardiac arrest you're only chance of survival is a defibrillator because your heart has to be shocked back to its normal rhythm."

The charity says it will have given out 100 defibrillators across the North East by the summer.