Leading GP says heart-start machines can be used by anyone

A LEADING GP has attacked what he described as "misinformation" about the role of heart-start defibrillator machines.

Dr Harry Byrne, vice chairman of NHS Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group, said he wanted to clear up any misunderstanding about the operation of defibrillators.

Dr Byrne, from the Neasham Road medical practice, was speaking after the launch of The Northern Echo's A Chance To Live campaign, which is calling on all North-East gym owners to invest in a defibrillator in a bid to prevent unnecessary loss of life.

It follows a survey by the Echo of 52 North-East gyms and leisure centres which showed that while council-run gyms all had defibrillators, 80 per cent of private gyms surveyed did not.

One up-market Darlington gym, Bannatynes, issued a statement that they did not a defibrillator because "they are a specialist piece of medical equipment, which should only be operated by qualified medical professionals."

Dr Byrne responded: "I don't imagine there is a doctor in town who would not endorse your campaign as a really positive thing. These defibrillators are certainly very sophisticated pieces of medical equipment but the idea that they are not to be used by people who have no training is just wrong."

"They are foolproof even a doctor could follow the written and verbal instructions," he joked.

Dr Byrne said the advent of defibrillators - developed to shock hearts back into a normal rhythm in the case of a cardiac arrest - "is the single greatest advance in out of hospital cardiac assistance since the invention of chest compressions, or CPR."

He pointed out that non-medical staff in every doctors surgery in Darlington has been given basic training in how to use heart-start machines.

But he stressed that even a total beginner could safely use them to help save a life.

"You don't have to be a trained first aider to use one. You just pull it out of the box and follow the instructions step by step. It even tells you what to do."

He stressed that there is "is no danger to an individual. The machine decides when to deliver a charge. If someone collapses you stick the defibrillator pads on their chest and it decides whether or not to shock them. It even tells you to stand clear."

Dr Byrne said he would have thought all well-equipped gyms would have a defibrillator available for staff to use.

"I would have thought it was fundamental to have one. I would be alarmed if I was a member of a gym which didn't have a defibrillator."

Speaking about its decision not equip Bannatyne  health clubs with defibrillators, a spokesman said: "We stand by our position which is based on sound experience and the company's own advice."  

Comments (8)

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4:11pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Longbowman666 says...

Totally agree 100% with this! Current AED's (automated defibs) are very simple to use and can be deployed rapidly to someone in cardiac arrest. As the doc says, all you have to do is take it from its box and follow what it says - simples!

This is without doubt a campaign that all of us, young and old, who subscribe to the paper, should be behind.
Totally agree 100% with this! Current AED's (automated defibs) are very simple to use and can be deployed rapidly to someone in cardiac arrest. As the doc says, all you have to do is take it from its box and follow what it says - simples! This is without doubt a campaign that all of us, young and old, who subscribe to the paper, should be behind. Longbowman666
  • Score: 3

5:10pm Mon 12 Nov 12

peelers says...

Think this is a bit short-sighted of Bannatynes, perhaps they are trying to avoid getting sued. A while ago you did have to complete a course to use one of these, but the guidelines where reviewed and they now form part of basic first aid training. I have just had my refresher course and there was input on how to use one, if we could figure out how to use it anybody can. Use of a Defib greatly increases the risk of survival compared to CPR alone
Think this is a bit short-sighted of Bannatynes, perhaps they are trying to avoid getting sued. A while ago you did have to complete a course to use one of these, but the guidelines where reviewed and they now form part of basic first aid training. I have just had my refresher course and there was input on how to use one, if we could figure out how to use it anybody can. Use of a Defib greatly increases the risk of survival compared to CPR alone peelers
  • Score: 1

5:12pm Mon 12 Nov 12

peelers says...

And l am sure that Duncan would have appreciated one after his last heart scare
And l am sure that Duncan would have appreciated one after his last heart scare peelers
  • Score: 3

6:10pm Mon 12 Nov 12

StanLaurels_CamelToe says...

Having used these machines a number of times I can echo the advice of the Doctor. They can be used by Lay people both practically and legally. I strongly condemn the incorrect and damaging views of the Bannatyne group. I and other people have saved many lives with AEDs.
Having used these machines a number of times I can echo the advice of the Doctor. They can be used by Lay people both practically and legally. I strongly condemn the incorrect and damaging views of the Bannatyne group. I and other people have saved many lives with AEDs. StanLaurels_CamelToe
  • Score: 1

6:45pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Longbowman666 says...

Indeed, the Bannatyne Group are being extremely short sighted. How can they make a statement like that when you now have AED's in shopping centres, cinemas, stations etc? At one time it had to be a first aid trained responder who used it, but now the Resus Council have issued advice that even an untrained rescuer should be able to use one, so I would say that they are defintely behind the times!

I also train personnel to use these and have used one myself on a couple of occasions - easy to use and with simple instructions...can't be easier, or more vital, as every second counts in such a case.
Indeed, the Bannatyne Group are being extremely short sighted. How can they make a statement like that when you now have AED's in shopping centres, cinemas, stations etc? At one time it had to be a first aid trained responder who used it, but now the Resus Council have issued advice that even an untrained rescuer should be able to use one, so I would say that they are defintely behind the times! I also train personnel to use these and have used one myself on a couple of occasions - easy to use and with simple instructions...can't be easier, or more vital, as every second counts in such a case. Longbowman666
  • Score: 2

10:35pm Mon 12 Nov 12

sarahd says...

I don't think bannatynes are being short sighted, just tight fisted. They just don't want to folk out for the machines. Like they don't charge enough for gym membership. If I were paying that, I would like to think they had everything covered in case of emergencies.
I don't think bannatynes are being short sighted, just tight fisted. They just don't want to folk out for the machines. Like they don't charge enough for gym membership. If I were paying that, I would like to think they had everything covered in case of emergencies. sarahd
  • Score: 0

10:54am Tue 13 Nov 12

peelers says...

Bannatynes twitter reply was thus "As long as you take responsibility for any deaths caused by wrong use!"
Bannatynes twitter reply was thus "As long as you take responsibility for any deaths caused by wrong use!" peelers
  • Score: 0

5:37pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Longbowman666 says...

'As long as you take responsibility...' What bunch of idiots run Bannatynes? How many deaths have been caused by an AED? Oh, yes, let's see...none! And if they're that concerned, then send their first aiders on an AED course and then only allow them to be the ones to use it if an emergency happens - that way you have a fully trained person to administer / oversee its use.

Someone needs to tell them the difference between a manual defibrillator and an AED!

Or, as Sarahd says, is it that they are tight fisted? If that is the case, then to anyone who uses Bannatynes - this is a company that doesn't mind taking wads of cash from you so that you can use their facilities, but doesn't care less if you keel over from a cardiac arrest! Nice customer realtions!
'As long as you take responsibility...' What bunch of idiots run Bannatynes? How many deaths have been caused by an AED? Oh, yes, let's see...none! And if they're that concerned, then send their first aiders on an AED course and then only allow them to be the ones to use it if an emergency happens - that way you have a fully trained person to administer / oversee its use. Someone needs to tell them the difference between a manual defibrillator and an AED! Or, as Sarahd says, is it that they are tight fisted? If that is the case, then to anyone who uses Bannatynes - this is a company that doesn't mind taking wads of cash from you so that you can use their facilities, but doesn't care less if you keel over from a cardiac arrest! Nice customer realtions! Longbowman666
  • Score: 0

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