Great-granddad’s defibrilator donation after second heart scare

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A retired policeman from Wearside has donated life-saving heart equipment to his GP surgery after he survived a second brush with death - almost 35 years after his first.

Earlier this year, great grandad Alan Edmundson suffered a cardiac arrest while visiting his dentist.

After blacking out and collapsing, quick-thinking staff used an on-site defibrillator to save Mr Edmundson, 81, before paramedics arrived on the scene to transport him to Sunderland Royal Hospital for treatment.

Now recovered and back to his old self Alan is getting on with life at the Fulwell home he shares with his wife Jean, also 81.

Following the terrifying incident, Mr Edmundson was given a HeartSine Samaritan Defibrillator by Aero Healthcare, but he has today handed it over to St Bede Medical Centre, his own GP surgery, in Monkwearmouth, for the benefit of staff and patients who may need the device.

Recalling the incident in March, Mr Edmundson told the Echo: “I first had a heart problem in 1981 when I was driving to drop my daughter off.

“I had chest pains and had to ask someone at the police station to call an ambulance for me.

“I was put in intensive care and feared I wouldn’t last the night, but I managed to recover.”

Former Pc Mr Edmundson added that life carried on as normal and despite suffering from angina and an irregular heartbeat his health issues were at the back of his mind until he went for a routine appointment at Ramshaw Dentists in Fulwell.

“I got to the counter and told them I didn’t feel well. That’s the last I knew because next thing I was waking up in hospital.

“Two of the dentists managed to resuscitate me. I’ve been told that two of my arteries were blocked and that one was working at 45 per cent.”

“I’ve been given the defibrillator but I’ve got a pacemaker fitted now and the wife wasn’t very keen on trying to use it, so I’m giving it to the GP surgery.”

St Bede’s Medical Centre will today be taking part in the annual Restart a Heart Day, in which a resuscitation dummy will be used to demonstrate to patients how to treat someone suffering from cardiac arrest.

Community cardiologist Dr Michael Norton, whose charity Cardioproof is trying to improve cardiac arrest survival rates, said: “We want to raise awareness of cardiac arrest, promote the idea that anybody can save the life of a person affected and also that anyone can use a defibrillator as they tell you exactly what to do.”

Sunderland University has also pledged its support and has been highlighting the national campaign this week on its plasma screens across campus.

The university’s Faculty of Applied Sciences is working with Cardioproof to see if the organisation can increase the number of defibrillators it has.