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New life-saving equipment in tribute to staff member

A new emergency defibrillator is helping to save lives at Maidstone Hospital.

Chief Executive at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW), Miles Scott, unveiled the new cabinet at a ribbon-cutting event on Tuesday 16 April. The new defibrillator has been named ‘Jez’ in memory of Trust gardener Jez Clark, who sadly passed away in the hospital’s staff car park two years ago due to a cardiac arrest. Mr Scott was joined at the unveiling by Jez’s family, and his friends and colleagues.

Organised by the Emergency Planning team, the emergency defibrillator is the first of four to be installed on the hospital grounds, all of which have been generously funded by the Maidstone Hospital League of Friends (LoF). Four further cabinets will be fitted at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, thanks to the support of the Tunbridge Wells Hospital LoF.

A defibrillator is a device used to deliver high energy shocks to someone’s heart when they are in cardiac arrest. A recent report by the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) found that the use of a defibrillator on cardiac arrest patients prior to the arrival of ambulance crews is vital in improving cardiac arrest survival rates.

Jez ClarkEmergency defibrillators can be accessed by members of the public to assist someone until a medical team arrives. Hospital grounds such as MTW are often vast, and can include a number of non-medical buildings located close to other community amenities. Having emergency defibrillators in these areas means that members of the public who are in vicinity of a hospital are able to easily access them if needed, and provide a lifeline to anyone in cardiac arrest. Resuscitation Council UK have recently published an animated video as a guide for members of the public on how to use a defibrillator and significantly increase someone’s chances of survival.

Located at the entrance of the hospital’s Academic Centre, the emergency defibrillator includes an assistance phone that can be used to request urgent medical assistance. The equipment is linked to the ambulance control room, meaning anyone who rings 999 can be given the code to access the defibrillator. It is also linked to the Trust’s security control room, in the event of a security incident.

Lead Resuscitation Officer at the Trust, Paul Abdey, who provided a demonstration at the event on how to use the defibrillator, said: “The rapid use of a defibrillator for a patient who has suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and whose heart has stopped gives them the greatest chance of survival. For each minute that the patient does not receive a shock, the chances of survival can drop by 10% per minute.”

Gareth Owen, Chair of the Maidstone Hospital LoF, said: “The aim of the League of Friends is to provide a link between Maidstone Hospital and the community it serves. We are proud to be funding this new lifesaving equipment, which will bring vital support to members of the public experiencing cardiac arrest.”

The other three emergency defibrillators at Maidstone Hospital are located in the Oncology Unit top car park, at the Renal Unit, and at the Pathology block near the Birthing Centre.