Saved man says everyone should understand the importance of CPR

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A dad has vowed to spread the word of the importance of CPR after family members helped save him when he almost died from a cardiac arrest.

Aonghas Morrison had a cardiac arrest at home in Livingston, West Lothian, last March. Thankfully, his daughter and father-in-law were in the house and helped save his life.

Aonghas’ story

Mr Morrison, 50, said: “I’ve always kept myself reasonably fit and healthy and, last year, I really did think I was in the best shape of my life.

Aonghas Morrison's story shows the importance of CPR
Aonghas Morrison needed CPR (Handout/PA)

“I had no concerns about my heart and so what happened really was a bolt out of the blue.

“I was volunteering for the Boys’ Brigade and had just returned home, when I felt unwell and thought I had food poisoning.

“I had a lie down, then felt sick and walked to the bathroom. It was at that point that I collapsed on the floor. I don’t remember anything after that.”

He added: “Thankfully, my daughter heard me fall, ran to see what had happened and they dialled 999 immediately.

RevivR mobile phone app for the importance of CPR
The RevivR app is easy to use (Handout/PA)

“My father-in-law started to perform CPR, with my daughter counting compressions for him until the paramedics arrived to take over.

“It must have been so frightening for them, but they stayed so calm. The ambulance crew worked on me for an hour in the house, administering shocks from a defibrillator.”

Mr Morrison was taken to hospital and diagnosed with heart failure, which is now being treated with medication.

He said: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, without the immediate care I received from my daughter and her grandad, I would not be here.

“They were there and knew what to do when I needed them most. Every breath I take, I owe to them.”

Lack of CPR knowledge

Despite the importance of CPR, only 54% of Scots would be able to perform it if someone had a cardiac arrest.

The survey, carried out for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) by YouGov, has led the foundation to call on the country to learn CPR during February’s Heart Month, with the message that you are most likely to need these skills to save someone you know.

There are about 3,100 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Scotland each year, with 80% of these in the home.

However, only one in 10 people survive, often because those around them do not have the skills or confidence to perform CPR.

The survey of 1,006 adults in Scotland also found a third (33%) of respondents have never learned CPR.

Of those, almost half (49%) said it was because they did not know where to learn, while 26% said they did not have the confidence to learn.

The British Heart Foundation on the importance of CPR

David McColgan, BHF Scotland head, said: “Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest, and knowing CPR could be the difference between life and death.

“A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time – it could be your partner, your mum or dad or your child.

“Our survey shows that too many of us still haven’t learned CPR and wouldn’t have the confidence to step in if the worst should happen.”

He urged people to learn CPR using BHF’s free online tool, RevivR.

He said: “It only takes 15 minutes to learn with RevivR – that’s a coffee break, half time in the football or the time you might spend scrolling through social media.

“I urge you do it today, as it could be the most important lesson you ever learn.”

CPR advice

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be used to try to restart someone’s heart if it has stopped.
  • CPR should only be used in an emergency situation if someone is unconscious and not breathing.
  • People without CPR training should stick to hands-only chest compressions, the NHS says.
  • To carry out a chest compression:
  • Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.
  • Position yourself with your shoulders above your hands.
  • Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5-6cm (2-2.5 inches) on their chest.
  • Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow the chest to return to its original position.
  • Repeat these compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times per minute until an ambulance arrives or you become exhausted.

As Aonghas Morrison’s story shows, you cannot understate the importance of CPR.


Would you know how to perform CPR? Let us know in the Comments

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