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Stafford woman campaigns for map of life saving defibrillators in Stafford Borough

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: August 30, 2013

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A STAFFORD woman who was brought back from the dead after having a cardiac arrest has bought a defibrillator for the town centre. 

LIFE SAVER. . . Sue Wyke has provided a defibrillator for Stafford. She believes more should be done to signpost where the heart-start machines are located. Do you agree?

Sue Wyke has raised more than £3,000 to buy the life-saving device after she collapsed suddenly in January last year.

Her family was told she had died but the 58-year-old says her life was saved by paramedics and medical staff at Stafford Hospital where she was on life support for nearly a week.

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Now, backed by the Newsletter, she wants to highlight the importance of having defibrillators available and telling people where they are.

The defibrillator will be supplied by the Arrhythmia Alliance, a coalition of charities, patient groups, carers, medical groups and professionals and will be housed in The Swan in Greengate Street.

But Mrs Wyke says it is vitally important that people know where the machines are in Stafford.

“It’s so important to get to them quickly. It could happen to anyone at any time. It would make Stafford a safer place.”

Today the Newsletter prints maps of Stafford and Stone where the vital devices are kept along with an extended list of where other devices are located throughout the borough. 

Mrs Wyke is campaigning for a postcard size map showing where and when machines are available, with instructions on the back.

Mrs Wyke, of Shannon Road, Burton Manor, is also concerned that the potential loss of critical care under proposals from the trust special administrator at Stafford Hospital could cost lives.

“They have handed people like me who need critical care a death sentence. It’s so important we have a critical care department

"It’s no good getting someone back to life if there isn’t the critical care there.”

Chris Lewis, owner of The Swan, said: “There isn’t (a defibrillator) in the high street - it’s as simple as that.

"There are some in Stafford but a lot of them are not accessible.

“Some are open during the day or in management offices tucked away so the idea of this one is that it’s literally going to be just inside the entrance to The Swan, which is open from 7am to midnight.

"All the time Greengate Street is busy it will be available.”

Former Staffordshire county squash player, Russell Follows, who collapsed at a gym from a cardiac arrest says it is vital people should know where life-saving defibrillators are located. 

Russell Follows suffered the cardiac arrest in the changing rooms of Stone’s Westbridge Park Fitness Centre earlier this year.

His life was saved when someone spotted him and told fitness instruc- tor Lee Nicklin who grabbed the onsite defibrillator and started Mr Follows’ heart and gave him CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Mr Follows, 55, of Cross Street, is backing a campaign by Stafford worker Sue Wyke for a definitive map and better signage in the borough to locate defirbillators. 

Mr Follows, who now has a defibrillator fitted inside his body, says a crisis could happen to anyone at anytime. 

“If there hadn’t been one there, I wouldn’t be talking to you now,” he said. “More people could be saved if there were more of them about and people knew where to find them.”

If used in the first four minutes after SCA, defibrillators can give victims an 80 per cent chance of survival, a massive increase compared to CPR alone. But the surivival rate drops by 14 per cent for every additional minute. 


The machines have an automated voice which guides users through every step of the process. They monitor heart activity once pads are fit- ted to the patient and they then instruct the user according to the readings they take. The devices will only administer a shock if one is appropriate.

Trudie Lobban MBE, founder and chief executive of Arrhythmia Alliance, said: “Sue is an inspiration. It is wonderful to see her turn what could have been a terrible tragedy into something positive.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is the UK’s biggest killer and claims 100,000 lives every year.

"Every community should have (a defibrillator) available 24/7 so that thousands of unnecessary deaths can be avoided every year.”

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