This BBC3 documentary features a young man, who is one of our Trustees, called Ben. On the 13th August 2017, at the age of only 17, Ben collapsed and went into cardiac arrest, in Tamworth. Thankfully, due to colleagues performing CPR and using an AED, Ben was successfully brought back to life. It just proves that it can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time. This is his incredible story, in his words.
In 2014, Simon suffered two heart attacks within hours of each other. It was TAME Community First Responders that got to him first. It became apparent that an ambulance wasn't going to get to him very soon and it was the actions of the First Responders that kept him alive. An AED was attached to Simon and he was shocked twice before an appropriate rhythm was restored to his heart. He was eventually taken to Good Hope Hospital, then transferred to Heartland Hospital, for stents. Unfortunately, it proved impossible and was unable to be performed. He was then transferred to Coventry and Warwick hospital for a double heart bypass where he stayed for the next 10 days. He was admitted back into intensive care as both his lungs collapsed and again he was left fighting for his life. He came through but with a lesser lung capacity from the damage.
Fast forward 6 yrs and he still struggles with his breathing and uses numerous inhalers. His lung capacity has dropped to 57%. He had 8 stents inserted, in 2019.
As you can imagine having him rushed to hospital, moved to another hospital and having open heart surgery was truly terrifying for the family. Simon was told he was lucky to survive all this trauma. Simon and his wife Tina have recently raised funds to place an AED in Bolehall at the Amington Inn. Day to day is a constant struggle but the tablets keep him going and having a good wife of course!
What started as a normal Sunday in June, quickly turned out to be a life changing day for Ben Thom-Wood.
Three years prior to June 2019, Ben had regularly swam between 80 and 100 lengths at the Snowdome swimming pool, Tamworth. Being an active, fit and healthy man, Ben was unaware about the events that were just about to unfold. Nearing the end of his swimming session, Ben went into cardiac arrest.
A cardiac arrest is when your heart suddenly stops pumping blood round your body, commonly because of a problem with electrical signals in your heart. When your heart stops pumping blood, your brain is starved of oxygen. This causes you to fall unconscious and stop breathing. A term known as Clinically dead!
The excellent staff at the Snowdome immediately came to Ben’s rescue, removing him from the swimming pool and commencing CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) along with retrieving an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator). The emergency services arrived on scene and worked on Ben, along with the staff from the Snowdome. The first shock delivered from the AED failed to re-start Ben's heart, so another cycle of CPR was commenced. After another 2 minutes of CPR, the AED analysed the electrical activity in his heart. A shockable rhythm was detected in his heart this time round, resulting in the AED giving the instruction of ‘Shock advised’. The second shock was delivered from the AED, this time with success. The conditions within the heart had been reset allowing his heart to start beating. Ben was brought back to life! Being critically ill, Ben was rushed to hospital to receive further treatment. But he was alive!
The use of the AED along with CPR, almost certainly, saved Ben's life. Survival stories, such as Ben's, are what make us even more passionate about what we do, as a charity.