London cabbies being trained to use defibrillators to help heart patients
Fifteen London taxis are being fitted out with defibrillators to enable help to be given to pedestrians who suffer a cardiac arrest.
As part of the trial, black cab drivers are being instructed on how to use the devices by the London Ambulance Service, as well as being trained in basic life-saving.
The training will show cabbies how to place the defibrillator on a patient and how to perform CPR chest compressions.
A mobile app, called GoodSAM, will alert drivers to nearby emergencies, allowing them to provide immediate help if they arrive before an ambulance.
Defibrillators deliver an electrical charge to a patients chest if it detects that person’s heart is in a ‘shockable rhythm’.
Many defibrillators are can already be found, in public places such as train stations, shopping centres, airport and leisure centres. These are often known as public access defibrillators (PAD), as anyone can use them in an emergency.
Chances of survival following a cardiac arrest decreases by about 10% for every minute a patient waits for medical attention. In contrast, a person has a higher than 50% chance of survival when treated quickly by a passer-by.
There are said to be around 5,000 devices in London alone, however fewer than 100 attempts a year are made to use them.
It is hoped that the six-month trial, which involves thirty members of the Licensed Taxi Driver’s Association (LTDA), will increase the chance of a medically trained first responder being able to attend and increase the usage of the equipment around the capital.
Whilst only 15 of the cabs have a defibrillator on board, the other 15 trained cabbies will be directed to their nearest one via the app.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said: “Cabbies already go the extra mile to help look after Londoners, but this life-saving training is already making a big difference, giving them the confidence, skills and equipment they need to act in a medical emergency.”
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