By Christopher Tobutt
It was just another normal evening for Charlie Adams and his friend, John, at Cayman tennis club. That is, until Mr. Adams sensed something going badly wrong: “I picked up a ball, and I thought ‘That’s strange I feel a bit light-headed.’ I got down on my hands and knees and said, ‘hang on John, give me a second.’ The next thing that happened is I just went face-first into the court. When I came around I had no idea what had happened.”
What had happened was that Mr. Adams’ heart had stopped beating for a full two and a half minutes, and he would almost certainly have died there and then if it wasn’t for the quick-thinking of another of Mr. Adam’s friends, Steve Thompson. If you have a heart attack, your chances of surviving decrease by ten percent per minute, and it takes around 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, and that is often just too late.
Not wasting a second, Mr. Thompson knew where the nearest Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was and how to use it. “When I came round, I just thought I had fainted. I heard people talking. They had already given me one shock from the AED. The first one woke me up and they were just getting ready to give me a second one,” Mr. Adams recalled.
Since that time, Mr. Adam’s refers to his time after his heart attack as his “new life,” and has understandably become enthusiastic about what AEDs in the right hands can do, he funded a total of eight, at 1200 KYD each, for Lifeline, a brand new charity, to distribute, including one at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club, where Lifeline’s official launch took place. Lots of families of people who had been affected by cardiac health problems were represented at Lifeline’s grand opening, and everyone had a different story to tell.
One of Lifeline’s Directors, Glenna Black, funded a defibrillator after her husband Julian Black died from a heart attack in 2017. Another of Lifeline’s Directors, Christina Kish, got involved when her teenage son, Danny, was diagnosed with an electrical heart problem. lots of reasons, but one single purpose: to make sure that more people in Cayman know how to get their hands on a defibrillator when they need one, and how to use it in those critical first few minutes after a heart attack. That means more saved lives, and more dads and moms and and grandparents that won’t be taken, too soon, from the lives of their families
The Lifeline database already holds the details of over 100 AEDs on Grand Cayman. The problem is not so much a lack of the devices, it is simply that people do not know where they are, or how to get to them in time. That is the essence of why Lifeline was set up. They are presently in the process of teaming up with 911 and all of Cayman’s first responders to create a database, so that the necessary information can get out to the scene of the incident, so that the defibrillator can get into the right hands in time to save a life.
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