Heart campaign hits parliament

Patrick Horrocks
Patrick Horrocks

A NATIONAL campaign to save lives, which has been in place in Wigan for over a year, has hit parliament.

Following the death of 12 year old Oliver King in Liverpool during a swimming lesson, his father has started an e-petition to try and get the wider use of defibrillators in public places to try to force Parliament to discuss the issue.

However, Wigan has had defibrillators in public places for over a year and in June last year a Hindley school boy was saved after his heart stopped at the gym in Hindley Leisure Centre.

Patrick Horrocks - then 15 - collapsed at a WLCT run gym at Hindley Leisure Centre.

The Hindley Community High pupil flatlined for four minutes during the incident, but was revived thanks to the actions of the two members of staff who administered CPR and used a defibrilator.

Patrick said: “I am really glad they were there to help me as I wouldn’t be here today without them. I don’t remember much about the incident. The last thing I thought was that I was coming off the treadmill and then the next thing I knew I woke up with the paramedics there.”

Together with the high profile case of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed during a match in March, campaigners now want defibrillators available in many more public spaces across then UK - such as parks, swimming pools, offices and schools. Campaigners believe that each week the lives of more than 12 young people are lost to unexpected heart attacks.

They argue that if defibrillators are available then hundreds of lives could be saved each year.

However, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) which run leisure centres in Wigan Borough, has led the way in providing Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machines in all their locations in the borough.

However, some have not been so lucky in the past in Wigan.

In September 2010, 22 year old Ryan Gormally from Swinley collapsed and died whilst playing five-a-side at the JJB Soccerdome at Robin Park.

An inquest into his death found that there was a defibrilator at the venue, but no trained personnel were on hand to operate it.

There have been other cases where experts have called for defibrillators to be made more available.

Late last month physiotherapist Ruth Bradley, who was at a game at Broughton Park Rugby Club in Manchester, had to race into action when 20-year-old Sammy Alkhalaf, a Manchester University rugby league player, collapsed on a neighbouring pitch.

She said: “One of their players was on the floor and looked like he was fitting, so I ran over and we had him in the recovery position and he was breathing.

“Then all of a sudden his breathing had stopped. I couldn’t find a pulse so I took the decision to start CPR which was the hardest thing.”

Sammy Alkhalaf survived, thanks to the prompt action of Ruth and her colleagues. But she says had a defibrillator been available his chances of survival would have been much higher.