Tea Gardens paramedic shares community vision for improved cardiac arrest responses

Stephen Wilson has a vision to improve local responses to cardiac arrest.


TEA Gardens paramedic Stephen Wilson has a vision for his local community.

Stephen recently addressed the Myall U3A at a Friday discussion group and gave the audience a glimpse of how he believes the community could work together to assist in critical situations where people experience cardiac arrest.

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Steve’s slogan is ‘Heaven Can Wait’ and he believes locals can do more than they imagine to help a person who is experiencing cardiac arrest.

His idea is based on a community program in Seattle where survival rates from cardiac arrest soared from 25% to 65% over a ten year period.

The good citizens of Seattle say their city is “the best place to have a cardiac arrest”.

The program itself was not an ambulance initiative, but an entire community based program where different community groups came together and pooled their training to help save lives.

Steve says Tea Gardens is a perfect location for such a community based ‘critical help’ program.

Tea Gardens is home to a large community of retirees with a wide range of life experiences.

Steve believes these experiences could be of benefit to the program, for example in the areas of advertising, logistics, raising money and leadership.

There are five recognised key areas that are integral to a successful resuscitation, referred to as the ‘Chain of Survival’.

The first is calling for help, secondly diagnosing a cardiac arrest and thirdly commencing chest compressions.

When you call Triple Zero (000) the operator will talk you through the last two points.

Stephen said, “As doing something is better than nothing, my plan is to encourage people to ‘have a go’ by addressing the many recognised challenges to bystanders performing compressions with short discussion/question sessions then practice on a mannequin in the same manner as would be provided by 000.”

The fourth link in the ‘Chain of Survival’ is early defibrillation.

“Publicly Accessible Defibrillators (PADS) are easy to use and pretty much foolproof but are of little use unless we know where to locate one in times of need.

“As a community we need to organise a group to determine how we can make best use of this life saving equipment.
“For example, how we can locate one when required, do we have enough and are they easy to access?”

The last link is access to trained personnel with the required medical equipment.

Tea Gardens has this in the form of eight very capable and well trained paramedics.

However, they are of little use in your time of need unless they are nearby and alerted to the situation.

The links in this chain are admirably handled by a smartphone app called GoodSam (shorthand for Good Samaritan), which is already in use in Victoria.

When a person wishes to report a cardiac arrest incident, an icon on the home screen is tapped.

The app then carries out several tasks immediately.

It dials 000; it reports the address of the nearest defibrillator; and it contacts several people nearby who have been trained in chest compression and use of a defibrillator.

The 000 operator immediately contacts the ambulance service and a paramedic team is dispatched.

Thereafter, the 000 operator instructs the bystander on performing chest compression until the paramedics arrive.

A number of community members are backing Stephen in his venture and are encouraging local groups and individuals who may be interested in championing this project to make contact and assist in making the areas between the highway and the beach around Tea Gardens as safe a place as any to experience cardiac arrest.

Stephen Wilson and Warwick Nichols are encouraging local groups to contact them in order to meet and discuss ideas.

For further information, please get in touch with Warwick Nichols on 0488017520 or email Stephen Wilson on [email protected]

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