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Leeds school’s new defib gets to the heart of learning

Community defibrillation officer David Jones shows Gledhow Primary School staff Awa Lynch and Elizabeth Montefiore how to use the equipment.

Community defibrillation officer David Jones shows Gledhow Primary School staff Awa Lynch and Elizabeth Montefiore how to use the equipment.

A potentially life-saving defibrillator has been donated to a Leeds primary school by a mother whose daughter died suddenly from a heart defect.

Gledhow Primary School was about to start a fundraising campaign to buy a defibrillator as one of its pupils suffers from a heart condition.

But headteacher Stephen Archer was put into contact with Susan Wylie by the Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) charity, who gave them a machine.

Her daughter Emma died of SADS aged 16 in 2006.

Mr Archer said: “We were delighted when Susan donated the machine. She was keen to have one at the school as we understand the importance of the equipment, having a pupil who may need one in future.

“Our staff have gone through some training in how to use the machine and it now takes pride of place in our reception hall.

“We have 505 pupils but hopefully none of them will ever need the machine.”

Ann Jolly, founder of SADS, said: “We are grateful to Susan Wylie for supporting the charity’s Big Shock Campaign, funding the defibrillator and raising awareness of the importance of this lifesaving equipment.

“It’s good to know that if a sudden cardiac arrest occurs the school will have a defibrillator quickly available .

“Using CPR alone provides a five per cent chance of survival but using CPR along with the defibrillator increases the chance of survival ten fold, giving the person a 50 per cent chance of survival.”

David Jones, defibrillation officer for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, helped train staff to use the equipment.

He said: “We know that in many medical emergencies the first few minutes are critical.

“If effective treatment can be performed within those first minutes, lives can be saved and disability reduced.”

Parents Antony and Halina Reid, from Garforth in Leeds, are also running a campaign to get defibrillators into schools after their son Tom died from SADS in 2009, aged 19.

Schools supporting the campaign can buy defibrillators at a cut-price cost of £800, with funding available from the couple, who have set up a website called: www.defibs4schools.org

 

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