Peter Pooley is pictured with Paul Brolly from NEAS and some of the staff from the leisure centre who helped save his life

Peter saved thanks to staff trained by NEAS

Quick use of defibrillator at leisure centre helped save Peter's life

Staff at a North Shields leisure centre have been thanked for saving a customer’s life after being trained by North East Ambulance Service.

Peter Pooley was enjoying an early morning workout at Parks Sports Centre, in Howdon Road, on December 10 when he collapsed on the cross country skier.

After realising the 59-year-old retired policeman had stopped breathing, staff called an ambulance and used the centre’s defibrillator.

Once he had started breathing again, Peter was placed back into the recovery position and monitored until the swift arrival of the ambulance.

Peter had suffered a heart attack to the rear of his heart and underwent an operation within 37 minutes of collapsing. He is now recovering at home.

“If it had happened outside of the gym I wouldn’t be here now,” he said.

“The gym staff were well trained and it must have been the best training exercise they ever had! I’m extremely grateful to all involved, the gym lads and obviously the ambulance crews for keeping me going in the ambulance.”

Peter is one of three people to have been recently been resuscitated at the leisure centre.

The defibrillator was installed in December 2011, following funding from the British Heart Foundation and training from North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

Defibrillators installed in busy public places, such as leisure centres and shopping centres, are known as static sites, with staff trained by NEAS to respond and use them in the event of an emergency. There are currently 103 static sites known to us throughout the North East. Not all organisations declare they have one on site so there could potentially be more.

There are a further 54 community public access defibrillators installed in communities throughout the region, which are available for members of the public to use in an emergency once they have called 999.

Paul Brolly, community resuscitation training officer for NEAS, who personally trained the leisure centre staff, said: “I’ve been doing this job for just over four years and we only had one CPAD when I first started.

“To have three successful resuscitations in the same place is amazing. I am so proud of the staffs’ actions and speedy response, which definitely contributes to patient survival. 

“Without their quick response, effective CPR and the presence of the defibrillator, the patients may have had a different outcome.

“For every minute that passes between the heart stopping and the shock being delivered, the chance of survival decreases between 7 to 10 per cent. Defibrillators are therefore vital to helping save someone’s life.

“We wish the patients and their families all the very best.”

North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn added: “I am delighted to hear that both people are making a full recovery and I’d like to wish them well.

“I must praise our quick thinking officers for saving their lives – I am very proud of the team, they’re a credit to this council.

“I would also like to thank the North East Ambulance Service for providing such high quality training, meaning our staff were able to act calmly, promptly and had the skills to resuscitate these two people.”

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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