Aegon spreads defib message after worker collapses

David Brown. Picture: Montage
David Brown. Picture: Montage
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David Brown was visiting a colleague’s desk at his work – and next thing he knew he was pulling off an oxygen mask in hospital.

The software developer was soon given the stunning news that three weeks had passed, and that he had been “brought back to life” after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Fit-and-healthy Mr Brown, 39, was left “clinically dead” with no pulse and no oxygen flow to his brain for ten minutes after collapsing in the office. It is only thanks to a quick-thinking colleague that he is here to tell his story after first aid was swiftly delivered before he was given a vital kickstart by paramedics using a defibrillator.

The incident, which happened a year ago, comes as a stark reminder of the importance of the life-saving piece of equipment – the survival rate for cardiac arrests outside of hospital can be as low as two per cent.

We’ve launched a campaign calling for defibrillators to be installed at sports centres across the Lothians in the wake of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner’s death on a Saughton football pitch at Christmas.

Mr Brown said: “I’d been suffering from some palpitations, but the doctors couldn’t work out what was wrong.

“I went into work and suffered a cardiac arrest while visiting a colleague’s desk.

“The next thing I knew, I was waking up in hospital pulling an oxygen mask off my face.

“Since then I found out I’d been kept alive by a member of staff.”

Mr Brown, who has made a full recovery after originally suffering short-term memory loss, added: “If I had been treated with a defibrillator sooner, I might not have had that damage.

“I don’t know what to say to the person who helped save me, except thank you. I think she was quite happy to see me walking back into work.”

His saviour was Anna Radziejewska, 32, a receptionist at financial giant Aegon, who had just completed a first-aid course in the previous two weeks.

She began CPR as Mr Brown’s skin began to turn purple from lack of blood flow.

“I felt confident because it was all fresh in my mind,” she said. “If I hadn’t done the training, I might not have done it.

“I was in so much shock. It was very emotional. The adrenaline was pumping, but after about two hours I just burst into tears and I had to go home.

“It was great when I saw David back at work. I just gave him a hug.”

Aegon now has defibrillators in its city headquarters and has 200 staff who have taken the British Heart Foundation Heartstart course.

Health and safety manager Catrina Teasdale said: “The devices are visible. We don’t have them hidden away in a cupboard or a first-aid room.”

At the heart of defibrillator campaign

Public health minister Michael Matheson joined dentist Alex Coakley at his Montgomery Street dental premises to launch a Scottish Government programme to install live-saving defibrillators at practices across Scotland.

The Scottish Government hopes that by making the defibrillators more accessible, it can reduce the number of Scots who die of cardiac arrest outside of hospital from last year’s figure of 1500.

Making the announcement, Mr Matheson said: “I believe that this investment will save many more lives.”