Supporting a fundraising campaign to buy a defibrillator for his golf club was the best decision Matthew Wellings ever made – because it saved his life.
And now Mr Wellings, the manager of Temple Golf Club in Hurley, near Maidenhead in Berkshire, is backing the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s call for all golf clubs to install one of the lifesaving devices.
Just one week after the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) arrived at the club Mr Wellings suffered a cardiac arrest. He explained: “I passed out in the office. Luckily the club secretary, Keith Adderley, whose idea it was to buy the defibrillator, was around and he used it to restart my heart and save my life.
“He and other members of our staff had just completed a training course on defibrillators so he knew exactly what to do. If we hadn’t bought it and organised the training I probably wouldn’t be here to tell the tale.”
Thanks to Mr Adderley’s prompt actions Mr Wellings survived. He was airlifted to hospital following the emergency in 2009 and had a small defibrillator implanted into his body to correct an irregular heartbeat which had caused for his collapse.
Others aren’t so lucky. Around 60,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the UK every year and fewer than one in ten survive.
Yet just 30 per cent of golf clubs are believed to have defibrillators.
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and its trading subsidiary IQL UK, which runs training courses on using AEDs, are calling on every course in the country to make sure they have one.
IQL UK’s technical officer, Ian Prosser, said that using a defibrillator alongside CPR can significantly increase someone’s chances of survival. “As soon as someone has a heart attack and goes into cardiac arrest the clock is ticking. The chance of successful defibrillation declines at a rate of more than 10 per cent with each minute of delay before a defibrillator is used.”
“It really can improve someone’s chances and survival rates can be as high as 75 per cent,” he added.
RLSS UK supplies defibrillators and the Emergency Response – AED course, which trains people to use the equipment and carry out CPR.
The charity urged golfers as well as golf club staff to learn the techniques.
“When you’re out on a golf course you can end up quite a distance from help,” Ian explained. “So it makes sense for golfers to learn what to do in an emergency as well as the staff at the club. After all, it’s your mates who are likely to be the first people to notice something is wrong. If they know what to do it could make all the difference.”
Ian stressed that people shouldn’t be afraid to use a defibrillator. “People think they might do something wrong or hurt the person they’re trying to help. But a defibrillator will only shock if it detects a shockable heart rhythm.
“Most modern ones will not only talk you through what you should do but will have an additional button which will guide you through the CPR sequence.”
RLSS UK’s life saving courses are designed to give people the confidence they need to act in an emergency.
“Anyone can learn these techniques and with defibrillators available in more and more places, including hotels and shopping centres, you never know when you might need such skills,” Ian pointed out.
Matthew Wellings added: “Defibrillators are so cheap in terms of saving lives.”
To find out about buying a defibrillator and RLSS UK’s training courses call 01789 773994 or visit www.rlss.org.uk
Temple Golf Club www.templegolfclub.co.uk