Three weeks ago, 49-year-old Long Soo Keat was playing football with friends on the grounds of his alma mater Chung Ling High School in George Town, Penang, when he suffered what could have been a fatal cardiac arrest.
Collapsing on the field, his outlook was very bleak. Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, explained a St John Ambulance Malaysia state officer, Dr Lawrence Tan to The Star.
“A heart attack is when blood supply to your heart is blocked. Many have heart attacks and survive.
“Sudden cardiac arrest is a malfunction in your heart and it stops beating. You lose consciousness without warning and the survival rate in Malaysia from that hovers at only 1%,” he said.
St John Ambulance an international organization with affiliates in different countries, that teaches and provides first aid and emergency medicine. It is primarily staffed by volunteers.
Fortunately, five teen volunteers were on hand at the football match to put their training to the test. Aged between 16 and 14 years old, they used an automated external defibrillator (AED) and cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to resuscitate Long, whose heart stopped for 12 minutes before they managed to start it again. Spending two weeks in the hospital to recover from the near fatal incident, Long, a real estate agent, was only released to go home last Friday.
On October 9, he will meet the heroes who saved his life, and join over 1000 others in Sungai Nibong, to learn more about heart health, and the skills that were used to bring him back from death’s doorstep.
Speaking on behalf of the Penang HeartSafe Program, their chairman Dr Luah Lean Wah said that many of the participants in the event are police officers, fire fighters, and service personnel from the Malaysian Civil Defense. However, many slots are still available for members of the public, and he is encouraging all of those in the area to come, learn how to save someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, and also how to operate one of the island’s 40 public AEDs.
Locations of where each AED can be found are the Penang HeartSafe Facebook page HERE.
Those who wish to join event can email relevant parties at firstname.lastname@example.org
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