A Bristol man helped to save a hiker’s life after he suffered a heart attack.
The victim collapsed after a cardiac arrest while walking in the Forest of Dean. But luckily a group of walkers were able to help him thanks to the presence of a ‘phone box’ defibrillator.
Keith O’Boyle, from Bristol, was one of a group of six, who helped the hiker. They found the machine in a nearby phonebox in Woodcroft, and used it to bring him back to life 20 minutes later, reports the Mirror.
Afterwards, Keith paid tribute to Tidenham Parish Council, which spent more than £6,000 on four separate life-saving machines in 2018.
The Mirror is campaigning for defibrillators to be installed in all public buildings across the UK.
Keith described their life saving as ‘quite a miracle’. He said: “There were six of us with him so a lot of people to help him out.
“We took various roles, one on the phone to 999, one gave him CPR, one went ahead on the path to try and help.
“We had been working on him for 10 minutes and then our friend came back with a defibrillator, which was the last thing we expected.
“He had found it in the phonebox.”
The machine, ready for use, brought his friend back to life.
Keith, business manager of a school in Bristol, added: “To find a machine there was the last thing we expected.
“One of my friends had done a lifesaver course. He hooked it up to him, it was brilliant, the instructions were really clear, the machine just tells you what to do.
“We put the pads on and gave him a jolt, and the machine talked to us about giving him CPR.
“After 10 minutes, he coughed, spluttered, vomited a bit, rolled him on his side to make sure he would not choke.
“The guy on the 999 call said ‘leave him alone’. He was breathing normally and regularly with the colour coming back to his face.”
Emergency services then arrived at the scene on Friday. Their friend was handed over ‘breathing and alive’, said Keith.
“It is not what we had been thinking about 20 minutes before that,” he toldR4’s Today programme.
“It was quite a miracle.
“The emergency team said that the machine saved him. We would really like to thank Tidenham Parish Council who put the defibrillator in the phone box.
“There are four around their parish and it is a really big thank you to them, they really did save his life.”
Martin Fagan, of the Community Heartbeat Trust, a charity which provides defibrillators, said it was a ‘fantastic’ story.
Since 2009, they have worked with BT to utilise their ‘iconic’ red telephone boxes.
There are now more than 1,000 utilised as defibrillator stations up and down the country.
Martin said that in rural areas, you are 30 percent less likely to survive a cardiac arrest.
So the vast majority of the sites are in those communities and they have had some ‘significant successes’.
He added: “They are medical devices, they are not just for Christmas, they are for life, they need maintenance and support.
“We work with those communities to make sure they are as resilient and sustainable after 10 years as they were on day one.”
A Tidenham Parish council spokeswoman said they were ‘delighted’ to hear that the hiker had survived.
“We spent £6,000 on the four machines and received a £1,000 grant towards the cost,” she said.
“We have to pay for their upkeep and they need a power supply to maintain their temperature, we tried a solar powered one but unfortunately that did not work out.
“It is all worth it to hear that someone is alive today who may not have been without this machine.”
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