Rats.co.nzSpecialist First Response Team to the Canterbury Region


RT-1's Defibrillator put to good use


On Sunday the 20th of April the Rats Lifepak 1000 Defibrillator was used for the first time in "anger".

An elderly woman had run off the road near Darfield, presumably due to a cardiac issue. Bystanders coming across the accident found
Lifepak 100 screen
Lifepak 100 screen
no signs of life and began CPR immediately. They called for an ambulance (the on duty crew being members of the Rats team, the Westwood's, along with a third crew member). Due to the location of the cardiac arrest being close to the Westwood's home it was more timely for them to respond directly to the scene and get the third ambulance officer to come towards them.

Lifepak 100
Lifepak 100
About 2 years ago the Ministry of Civil Defence generously purchased for all RT teams a Lifepak 1000 Defibrillator. The Rats Lifepak since then has been carried by the Westwood's as it was deemed the most likely place to be of use.

Timing is of course critical in a cardiac arrest scene, the sooner the patient is defibrillated the better the chance of survival, from the time the call came to ambulance control to the time the Westwood's were able to defibrillate was 7 minutes (the ambulance arrived on scene 4 minutes later). The initial rhythm of the patient was VF and after one shock reverted to a sinus rhythm with eventual return of spontaneous circulation.

This is a great outcome. Although patient is still deemed to be seriously ill, she has been given the best chance at survival. Apart from experiencing a cardiac arrest the patient in many ways was very lucky, the bystanders on scene doing CPR included an ICU technician and a nurse and also lucky that a defibrillator was only minutes away.

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Updated Wednesday, 22 December 2010