An 80 year old man whose life was saved by a defibrillator and a bystander passing by during a serious cardiac arrest at Cardiff Central Station has thanked the charity Welsh Hearts on their third birthday with a donation to purchase another device to get more of the life-saving machines into public places in Wales.
Frank Brock, who lives in Rumney in Cardiff, was picking up a friend at the busy railway station in February 2016 when he suffered a cardiac arrest and his heart stopped beating.
While his friend alerted staff, a bystander found Mr Brock unconscious in the car at the back of the station and was carefully assisted in moving him to the ground to begin CPR and were immediately joined by the staff who brought the station’s defibrillator or AED – a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses and treats cardiac arrest using electrical therapy on the heart to re-establish its rhythm.
The charity Welsh Hearts offer FREE CPR and Defibrillator training regularly to the public. A Defibrillator/AED can be used by any member of the public as the machine talks you through the process. The bystander turned out to be Dr O’Callaghan, a cardiologist who was picking up tickets at the station and jumped out of his car to perform CPR and use the defibrillator to restart Mr Brock’s heart.
Mr Brock hopes that sharing his experience will help to raise awareness of the importance of public defibrillators in schools and communities and encourage more people to support Welsh Hearts, the Welsh charity dedicated to the cause, which is celebrating its third birthday this month. He has also made a large donation to the charity so it can invest in more defibrillators.
“I have no recollection of that day,” said Mr Brock, who had triple heart bypass surgery when he was 40 years old. “I didn’t feel unwell and it was completely unexpected. I cannot thank the staff at Cardiff Central Station and Dr O’Callaghan enough for everything that they did for me. They were incredible. But, even with their best efforts, I know that without that defibrillator I would have been very unlikely to survive.”
“I thank my lucky stars that I was at the station when it happened. My friend wasn’t due in until 10.30pm that evening but she managed to catch an earlier train that saw her arrive at 8.30pm instead. That’s how I found myself at the station at that time, otherwise I would have been home alone when it happened and I wouldn’t have made it.”
Sharon Owen founder and director of Welsh Hearts, said: “Every second counts if you are in cardiac arrest. There are 8,000 sudden cardiac arrests outside of hospitals every year in Wales and the survival rate is just three percent, when an AED defibrillator and good effective CPR is carried out the survival rate increases to 50 percent.
That’s why we are trying to get as many defibrillators into public places in Wales as we can, so that people can act fast and save lives. We are so grateful to Mr Brock for thinking of us and making his donation, which means that another defibrillator can be bought and made available to the public and other lives can be saved!
Mr Brock, who worked for the National Coal Board and then in insurance before he retired, added: “The work that Welsh Hearts does is so important. Not only does it raise funds for defibrillators, it also offers free heart screenings and free CPR training across Wales to try and prevent as many heart-related deaths as possible. I was delighted that I could use my life-changing experience to do something positive and help save lives. We all hope we will never need a defibrillator but it’s reassuring to know there is one close by if the worst does happen.”
Dr Callaghan, cardiologist at University Hospital of Wales said “This is the first time I have ever performed CPR on someone as a bystander but I must thank the other bystanders who helped in this situation and to the station for having the life-saving defibrillator on site.
“I can honestly say every second counts and I was at the right place at the right time, but anyone with basic CPR training would have had the same results as me. I urge everyone to sign on to a CPR course as you never know when you need it.
“Two weeks following the incident I found myself fitting Mr Brock with an ICD – Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator – and thrilled to hear he is doing so well.”
Welsh Hearts was founded in 2013 and has been focusing on placing defibrillators in communities and schools throughout Wales, as well as offering free CPR training sessions and heart screening sessions to the public.
In just 3 years Welsh Hearts has trained over 13,500 people in CPR and placed 457 defibrillators across communities in Wales. 692 people have been screened to detect any heart abnormalities and at least 50 people have been referred for further investigations some conditions detected being hole in the heart and cardiomyopathy.
We are holding a free walk-in CPR and Defibrillator training on 17th October at The National Assembly of Wales anytime from 10.30 to 4pm. All welcome to attend. Contact 02920 647735
To donate to Welsh Hearts/Calonnau Cymru’s ‘Keeping the Beat Appeal’ to mark its third birthday or to take part in a fundraising event, visit www.welshhearts.org.uk