On Friday 19th June 2020 my husband had a sudden, major cardiac arrest. Just like that; with the flick of a switch - he was dead. Fortunately it happened in front of me, so I caught him as he fell, put him in the recovery position, yelled at my son to call 999, and it was thanks to the lady on the 999 call talking me through CPR that got any oxygen to his brain until the paramedics arrived. They injected him with adrenaline twice and shocked him twice, all whilst our three boys sat in the next room. His heart stopped for 25 minutes, and the paramedics were on the verge of calling it a day when they found a weak pulse. They took him to St. Peter's, found a clot, inserted a stent, then cooled his body for 24 hours to give his brain the best chance of repair. He was in an induced coma for a week, which was agonising.
He's still got a long way to go, but his recovery is nothing short of miraculous. After so long without a heartbeat, I was fully prepared (at best) for looking after a severely brain damaged man for the rest of our days. He's not. So, although our story is shocking, my heart is full of gratitude.
Our story ends has a happy ending, but there's only a 2% recovery rate with out of hospital cardiac arrests. The first thing the 999 call handler asked me was whether there was a defibrillator nearby. I knew there was one at the Forest Estate Community Hub, but immediately discounted it as being too far away. Really, I now see that every street corner should have one, but that is probably unrealistic, so this crowdfund is to raise enough money for a defibrillator for Englefield Green East.
Access to a defibrillator can increase survival rates up to 70%. My husband is only 51, extremely fit, has never smoked, eats healthily, drinks moderately. Realistically, he's never likely to need to use a defibrillator because of the medication he's now on for the rest of his life - but of it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone. There is a 70% chance of survival if defibrillation happens within 3 minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest, so if this crowdfund can save even one person in our village, then it's worth every penny.