A woman described the horrifying moment she discovered life-saving equipment needed to save her mum’s life was locked away in a community centre.
Kelly Attewell was told by a 999 operator to get the defibrillator from the Patchway Hub in South Gloucestershire after her mum suffered a heart attack while at work on June 24.
Kelly rushed to the centre – only to find it was closed and the equipment was stored inside.
“My mum called me to say she was feeling unwell and she was crying on the phone,” Kelly told Bristol Live.
“I went down there and I called an ambulance. I was talking to the 999 operator, it was around 9.20am when I rang, and I said what she had – I didn’t know it was a heart attack.
“My mum is 51-years-old and she has never had anything like this before.
“The operator said go and get the defibrillator. I rushed over to Patchway Hub – I’ve been there before – but I think they are only open 9-5 Monday to Friday and so I couldn’t get in.
“I ran back to my mum and the operator said I would have to wait until the ambulance arrives – it was traumatic.”
Paramedics subsequently attended and conveyed Kelly’s mum, Liz, to the BRI for further treatment.
While in hospital, Kelly said her mum had an operation and a stent was inserted.
Liz is now back at home and recovering, though Kelly has warned the outcome could have been much more serious.
“If I didn’t call the ambulance when I did, it could have been a very different story,” the 30-year-old added.
“This is dangerous. The defibrillator should be stored somewhere that is publicly accessible around the clock.
“I know how I felt on that day and I know I would not someone else to have to go through what I did.”
South West Ambulance Service confirmed they received a report of a woman suffering a heart attack in the Patchway area at approximately 9.15am.
A service spokesperson said they sent an ambulance and a hazardous area response team, equipped with a defibrillator, in response to the call.
The defibrillator, meanwhile, remains at Patchway Hub, which is a South Gloucestershire Council-run centre for community and children activities, as well as providing information and advice.
A spokesperson for the local authority said the equipment at the Hub would be staying put for the time being, as it serves the needs of staff and visitors, but suggested community groups look at installing a second defibrillator nearby.
“We are very pleased to hear that thanks to the public’s quick thinking and the excellent work of the paramedics, the patient was very well treated,” the spokesperson said.
“A number of council buildings have defibrillators installed as part of a scheme to support Western Ambulance.
“These are designed to go inside buildings to aid staff and visitors in the event of an emergency.
“There are other schemes whereby community groups have raised funds for and installed defibrillators that are accessible for 24/7 use.
“Used in the right circumstances, defibrillators can provide lifesaving first aid until trained medical staff can attend an incident.
“Online maps are available to show you where the nearest machine is available and when it is accessible and we would encourage any community group to explore options for providing one for their area.”
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