CPR and Defibrillators in the News
With the recent events at the Tottenham vs Newcastle game, the conversation comes back to ensuring the best possible outcomes for someone affected by a medical emergency. On Sunday the 17th of October, during the first half of the football match between Tottenham Hotspurs and Newcastle United, the game had to be temporarily suspended as players, staff and fans came together to assist a fan in the stadium who had suffered a cardiac arrest. Thankfully, the referee managed to halt the game to allow medical staff and a defibrillator to reach the person. Through the immediate use of CPR from a fan to the intervention through the defibrillator, they managed to be resuscitated and taken to hospital for further treatment.
For many football fans, this event was a cruel reminder of the incident which happened during the Euros on the 12th of June 2021. During a game between Finland and Denmark, the Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch during the first half, needing immediate CPR and the use of a defibrillator. Thankfully, he recovered from this incident and received a pacemaker to prevent an issue like this from happening again. The public reaction to this shocking event has led to a rise in campaigns in getting CPR education out there, as well as installing defibrillators in public places to allow members of the public to be able to administer treatment in the event of a cardiac arrest.
The discussion around this event in the news and in social media displays comments like, “It’s a shock how someone at the peak of physical health could suffer a cardiac arrest.” With this discussion being brought to attention again surrounding a footballing story, it’s important to look into the history of these issues in this sport. Since 1889 there have been 188 recorded deaths on the football pitch, with around 80 of them being linked to cardiac issues, with a large majority of these deaths being in the past 50 years. This statistic helps highlight the dangers associated with the amount of physical stress on the heart, making football one of the most dangerous sports in recent times.
Delivery of CPR
When it comes to the education of the delivery of CPR, there are many resources online and courses offered locally to give you the training that you need to handle a situation like this. Here at NetworthPick we recognise the importance of sharing this with as many people as possible, so our colleague Oliver has collected some key information in regards to the delivery of CPR.
When it comes to delivering CPR, the basics can be broken down into nine easy steps. We recommend that you take advantage of all the training and support available in person or online to build on the information we have collected.
- Check for breath: If CPR is performed on a person who is still breathing, it’ll do far more harm than good, so always make sure it is necessary to do so before you begin. First, check for breath. Ask the patient if they are okay or if they can hear you. It may appear redundant but remember you always need to make sure if the patient is not responsive.
- Once CPR has been deemed necessary, ensure someone has called 999. In most cases, CPR is mainly used to keep patients alive until medical professionals arrive, so calling them ASAP gives the patient their best chance of survival.
- Position the patient flat against a flat and firm surface.
- Remove any clothing covering the chest.
- Get down on your knees beside the patient. If you are kneeling on one leg, you will not be able to apply your full bodyweight when compressions begin.
- Link your hands together: one over the other with your fingers intertwined like in the picture. Be sure to keep the fingers of the bottom hand out and secure the hand on top by wrapping the fingers of the top hand between the fingers on the lower hand.
- Place the heel of your hand on the centre of the chest, on the lower half of the breastbone. Ensure your arms are outstretched to assure full application of your bodyweight.
- Begin compressions by applying your full weight onto you’re the patient’s chest, pushing down to the beat of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees (yes really, it’s extremely fitting and effective.)
- Keep going till medical assistance arrives.
It’s always bittersweet to only see major change following a near tragedy, however, this doesn’t mean that it needs to stop here. The understanding and education of CPR and other first aid training is key to preparing the general public in how to best handle these situations. Following the on-pitch incident with Erikson, the Danish charity TrygFonden, which specialises in installing defibrillators around the country as well as giving training to people on how to use them, has received over 2000 signups within the first week alone. This service enables emergency responders to be able to send a notification out to all trained users of these defibrillators in a local area when an emergency call comes in.
Public Access Defibrillators
The push for the more general installation of defibrillators isn’t just coming from Denmark, here in the UK. Charities like the Oliver King Foundation are pushing for the availability of these defibrillators in public spaces, as well as in schools to be able to save lives going forward. Moreover, charities like the British Heart Foundation offer an affordable way to order the devices as well as training and storage cabinets to allow local communities to take the proactive step and install these in key areas around your community. These types of devices are used to assist anyone suffering from a cardiac arrest, to be used by surrounding members of the public. It’s becoming a common occurrence now to see out of service phone boxes being repurposed into defibrillator stations as an easily identifiable place to be able to reach one.
The field of defibrillators has advanced quite far in the past 15-20 years as we start to gain a more concrete understanding of the inner workings of the human heart and the implementations of the technology which we can create. These advancements have allowed for these devices to not only be installed in public places, but also to be fitted under the skin, to be able a more direct style of treatment to sufferers of cardiac conditions. One of the footballing success stories featuring these modern internal defibrillator inventions is the Dutch footballer Daley Blind. Blind is a prolific defender who spent the majority of his playing career in the Dutch league Eredivisie playing for the dominant side Ajax. In 2019 he complained of dizziness whilst playing a match. After an extensive medical examination, he was diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation and was fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter – defibrillator. This is a device fitted under the skin, designed to send an electrical shock to the heart if it starts to beat out of rhythm or beats too fast.
It’s important in this discussion of both defibrillators and CPR that we consider the crucial importance of both of these in situations of cardiac arrest. When mainstream discussions take place on this topic the focus seems to be primarily on defibrillators, and less so on increased teaching of CPR. In the event of a cardiac arrest, performing immediate CPR massively increases the chance of survival and buys vital time until a defibrillator can be used. One of the biggest barriers members of the public face is the confidence in how to correctly perform CPR and how to keep calm and composed within a situation. In the long term, Nathaniel personally feels that the training and education on this topic should be a regular occurrence in schools, colleges and universities to better equip the next generation in how to handle these situations.
As we here at NetworthPick firmly believe in the importance of this education, we are working on getting a charity to give all our office staff CPR training so we can be better prepared for any future incidents. Knowledge is power, and taking the time to reach out and learn this skill could ultimately save someone’s life one day. The more people who can learn these lifesaving skills, the better off we can become as a society.