CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Woman dies outside care home with no defibrillator

Witnesses spent 20 minutes trying to save pensioner's life with CPR

12 April, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Gospel Oak Court

PASSERS-BY who desperately tried in vain to save the life of a woman who collapsed outside a care home were shocked that it did not have a defibrillator device.

Private contractors running Gospel Oak Court – one of two flagship care homes commissioned by Camden Council – told the New Journal they are now considering installing the life-saving units in the wake of the incident in Maitland Park Villas.

Staff may also be handed new training in first aid, said Shaw Healthcare, which holds a 30-year care deal with the Town Hall. The woman, in her 80s, was coming back to the home pushing a shopping trolley when she collapsed.

She was helped by four passers-by in the street, among them former soldier Aron Kennedy, who said he performed around 20 minutes of chest compressions before an ambulance arrived.

He said that when he asked staff at the home to bring out a defibrillator they said there was not one and did not appear to be trained in basic first aid. Mr Kennedy said: “It’s a nice environment in the home there, but really they should have a defibrillator. Sainsbury’s in Camden Town has got one, so why not a special­ist unit like this home?”

The home is split between people who have been placed there by the council and those who have paid for accommodation and care.

Defibrillators, which cost around £1,000 each, are simple-to-use machines that can help jolt a stopped heart back into its natural rhythm. Mr Kennedy said: “The lady was coming back to the home with her shopping in one of those granny trolleys. It might have been her time to go, but you never know. I was doing the CPR and I was thinking I ain’t giving up on you. I was thinking about my nan.”

He added: “I wanted the family to know she was not on her own when she went. There were four of us there helping her. I got another member of the public to keep her airwaves open. I was asking for a defib, but staff at the home said there wasn’t one. They didn’t seem to know what to do help.”

Mr Kennedy said children should be taught CPR when they are at school. “I learnt about CRP when I was at cub scouts down at St Pancras,” he said. “It is core, a fundamental – it should be taught in schools. There would be fewer deaths on the streets. “They don’t do it because they don’t want to scare the kids, but I think showing them might help.”

A Shaw Healthcare statement said: “Staff and tenants at Gospel Oak Court were shocked and saddened by the incident outside the home at the end of March. Our thoughts remain with the family at this difficult time. “We have held discussions with Camden Council since the incident and are looking into the possibility of providing defibrillators at both Gospel Oak Court extra care service and Maitland Park care home, both of which are operated by Shaw on behalf of the council, as well as providing the necessary training and insurance required for individuals to be qualified to use one. “The issue of hosting a defibrillator is one faced by the UK care industry as a whole as there is no regulatory or legal requirement.”

A Camden Council statement said: “We are very sad that a Gospel Oak Court resident died while out walking. We are in regular contact with care provider Shaw Healthcare and are discussing the possibility and practicalities of installing a defibrillator.”

Campaign for ‘defibs’ in schools

A MOTHER who launched a campaign to install defibrillators in every Camden school has warned that some institutions “don’t always see the relevance of defib­­rillators till it’s too late”. Rosh Keegan launched her Ani Loves Camden charity two years ago with Miss Dynamite at Camden School for Girls, with six schools agreeing to install the devices

Her 13-year-old daughter Ani died following a seizure at the school. Ms Keegan said: “The Ani Loves Camden Campaign is still ongoing with the help of Hand on Heart Charity. We have lots of defibs ready to go to schools.”

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