Dad who saved son’s life backs plan to map every public defibrillator in the UK

This father was able to save his son’s life when he collapsed on his school field thanks to a defibrillator.

But how many people can say they know where their nearest public defibrillator is if it came down to a life or death situation? That’s because information about the devices, which give high energy electric shocks to the heart, is patchy at best. Stuart Askew was very fortunate to know exactly where the public defibrillator was when his son Ethan collapsed last April.

Ethan Askew’s father saved his life thanks to a defibrillator (Picture: PA) Mr Askew, who works as a premises manager at Steiner Academy in Hereford – the same school attended by his son – had helped to set up a defibrillator just two days before. After running across the field to find the school receptionist performing CPR on his son, Mr Askew called on Ethan’s classmates to retrieve the defibrillator. ADVERTISEMENT He then used the device on his son. The youngster has now made a complete recovery, following surgery to treat a narrowed artery, which was caused by a genetic condition. Mr Askew, 46, from Hereford, said: ‘We were lucky that we knew there was a defibrillator nearby – I know many people aren’t as lucky.

The defibrillator was installed only two days before Ethan collapsed (Picture: PA) ‘It’s brilliant to know that the BHF will be working with Microsoft and the NHS to ensure that defibrillators across the country are mapped, so they can help to save people like Ethan.’ He’s now backing an initiative to improve awareness about the whereabouts of defibrillators after the enduring every parent’s worst nightmare. When a member of the public calls 999 after finding someone whose heart has stopped, they might not be directed to where they can find a publicly available defibrillator due to a lack of information on the whereabouts of the devices. To combat the lack of knowledge of where the defibrillators are located, the NHS, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Microsoft have vowed to map all of them in the UK. The BHF has estimated that thousands more lives could be saved from cardiac arrests if the locations are made known to emergency call handlers.

Stuart and Ethan Askew are backing the rollout of a project which will map all the defibrillators in the UK (Picture: PA) Previous research has found that just 3% of patients who suffer cardiac arrests that happen outside of hospital are treated with public access defibrillators, which the charity says significantly reduces the survival chances of tens of thousands of people every year. ADVERTISEMENT Tens of thousands of defibrillators are placed prominently in workplaces, train stations, leisure centres and public places across the country. The new project will see a comprehensive map of defibrillators across the UK created over the next 12 months.

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