Defib donated by Bernard Gallacher saves a life

Heart attack survivor Craig Bowes, 40, with Mary Purvis at Bathgate Golf Club. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Heart attack survivor Craig Bowes, 40, with Mary Purvis at Bathgate Golf Club. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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AS he prepares to tee off, keen golfer Craig Bowse might appear to be the picture of health.

But just six weeks ago the idea of playing golf would have been unthinkable for the father-of-three, as he lay in a hospital bed recovering from a major cardiac arrest.

Bernard Gallacher. Picture: Getty

Bernard Gallacher. Picture: Getty

The 44-year-old was about to play a round of golf at Bathgate Golf Club on August 2 when he started to feel unwell and, seconds later, slumped to the ground.

A bar steward and a club professional rushed to his aid, delivering chest compressions and using the on-site defibrillator to deliver the vital shock needed to restart his heart.

The life-saving machine had been donated to the club in February last year by former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, after he himself suffered a cardiac arrest in 2013.

Craig, of Armadale, said: “I woke up in hospital and wondered where I was. All my family were there and they had to tell me what happened.

“The doctor told me that because it was a massive trauma my short-term memory has gone. I can’t remember the full week up to it and the full week after it.”

After his ordeal, Craig was in a coma for four days before spending another three at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Fit-and-healthy Craig – who had never suffered heart problems in the past – has made a full recovery and last week returned to his job in non-destructive testing for Broxburn-based firm Lothian Inspection.

He returned to the golf course on Sunday for the first time since his collapse and was delighted to be playing again.

Craig said: “I have a lot to thank the staff for. My brother came with me in the ambulance and apparently the paramedics said it was the defib that saved me.

“I am definitely behind clubs getting them as who knows what would have happened if Bathgate didn’t have one?”

It comes amid an Evening News campaign to install defibrillators in sports clubs across Lothian, in memory of 13-year-old footballer Jamie Skinner who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest in 2013.

Gerard Flannigan, secretary of Bathgate Golf Club, said: “The defibrillator had sat unused on the wall in the club until last month – but we are delighted it was there.

“We did receive a letter from the Scottish Ambulance Service afterwards which said it was the actions of the staff that saved his life. All the staff got the training on how to use it.”

The club is now in talks over getting a second defibrillator, which it hopes to keep out on the green to ensure the safety of their 800 members.

Backing the Evening News Shockingly Easy campaign, Gerard said: “I have seen how effective these are first hand.”

More than 1500 Scots died in the community in 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

However, quick defibrillation and CPR can increase the chance of survival by up to 75 per cent.