Dad who nearly died backs Edinburgh defibrillator campaign

Mike Pinkerton and Henrietta Linneman with a defibrillator outside St John Scotland office in St John's Street. Picture: Alistair Linford
Mike Pinkerton and Henrietta Linneman with a defibrillator outside St John Scotland office in St John's Street. Picture: Alistair Linford
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A FATHER who was saved by a quick-thinking vet after he suffered a heart attack in her surgery is urging people to back a campaign for vital defibrillator equipment to be installed across the Capital.

Council worker Mike Pinkerton has spoken out about his traumatic experience when he collapsed with undiagnosed cardiomyopathy two years ago while visiting Oak Tree Vets on Queensferry Road. Mr Pinkerton was revived by Henrietta Linnemann, who rushed into action to perform CPR until emergency services arrived.

Mr Pinkerton said: “I collapsed and hit my chin on the reception desk. They thought I was having a fit.

“Henrietta came out and realised what was going on and began CPR pretty quickly. They were just keeping me going until the paramedics got the proper kit out.

“It took them four shocks to bring me back. If I had been any older then I probably wouldn’t have made it.”

Mr Pinkerton is urging people to get behind the St John and the City campaign to install more defibrillators across the Capital. He will pedal from Glasgow to Edinburgh this weekend, getting on his bike to support the charity.

The campaign is marking its first birthday and has already led to 123 lifesaving machines being dotted across the city.

Mr Pinkerton added: “Having been through what I have, I appreciate how lucky I had been and I want to give people the opportunity to have a better chance of getting through it.

“My chances of surviving were 20-1, which shows just how lucky I was.

“I would like people to be aware that defibrillators are really easy to use and people
shouldn’t be scared to use them.”

Mr Pinkerton was only 40 when he collapsed two years ago, something that stunned Mrs Linnemann when she rushed to help.

She said: “Nothing in the world could have prepared me.

“I didn’t expect to see a young man on the floor, blue and not breathing.

“It took about 12 minutes for the first responder to arrive.

“I had the ambulance service on speaker phone, who were amazing and encouraging me every step of the way.”

She added: “Very soon after it happened, my boss had a 
defibrillator installed at the practice.

“I think people assume that, because you are giving someone a shock, you can damage them.

“The defibrillators are designed so that isn’t possible.”

The St John Scotland campaign was initially started in memory of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while playing football for Tynecastle FC.

Major General Mark Strudwick, prior of St John Scotland, said: “The St John and the City Public Access Defibrillator Project has been an incredible success in its first year.

“We know that these machines can be used to save lives around the city in the coming years.”

Lord Provost Frank Ross has pledged to lead support of the defibrillator campaign on behalf of the city.

He said: “St John and the City and every single person who has fundraised for the campaign should be applauded.

“We have seen people from all walks of life and all areas of Edinburgh join forces to raise money and pledge support.”

• You can view and donate to Mike’s JustGiving page here.