Over two years after it was stolen from Haylands Primary School, Ryde, the defibrillator has been found in a bush by children playing football.
Louise Walker, Head of the Ambulance Training and Community Response Services (ATCoRS) for the Isle of Wight said,
“When Haylands Primary School, Ryde had their defibrillator stolen in October 2016 I struggled to find the words to express my shock and huge disappointment.
“Thankfully at the time, the IW NHS Trust Ambulance service was in a position to be able to replace the device, meaning the Island community was once again provided with a 24/7 Public Access Defibrillator at the site.
Now, two and half years later, the stolen defibrillator has been handed in to St Mary’s Hospital after being found under a bush by children playing football. The live saving piece of equipment is currently undergoing maintenance to see if it is still useable.”
First three minutes of a cardiac arrest are most crucial
Louise went on to say,
“Stealing or vandalising a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) can mean that someone dies. When someone goes into cardiac arrest (this means they are unconscious and not breathing normally) their survival rate without a defibrillator is likely to be less than 7% however this can increase up to 74% with early defibrillation.
“Every minute you delay defibrillation to someone who needs it, their chance of survival decreases by 10%. The first three minutes of a cardiac arrest are the most crucial; when someone rings 999 for the Ambulance their system automatically flags up the nearest defibrillator within a 200 metre radius.”
400 defibrillators on Island
There are currently over 400 known defibrillators across the Isle of Wight and many of these are accessible 24/7.
Some are in rural areas, others in town centres and some are within businesses, residential/nursing homes, dental practices and medical/health centres.
Some are in locked boxes, but the owner and the local Ambulance Service have the lock codes and in an emergency the 999 call taker will give this code to the rescuer.
Why some are locked
Although the British Heart Foundation and the Resuscitation Council UK recommend that we do not put locks on the outside wall defibrillator boxes, unfortunately we have had to do so in some areas because of vandalism. We’d rather people run to a locked box than an empty one.