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Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a Cardiac Arrest?

A cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. This is caused by a failure of the hearts electrical system and can lead to death within minutes.

What is a heart attack? 

A heart attack is a circulatory problem that is caused by blood being blocked suddenly to the heart, the casualty will more the likely be conscious.

What does CPR actually do? 

CPR increases the chance of survival as it ensures that a flow of oxygen rich blood is pumped into the brain and vital organs of the body. This also increases the chances of the patient being in a 'shockable' rhythm. This increases the success of shocking the patient with a defibrillator.

What is a defibrillator? 

A defibrillator automatically reads the patients heart and determines whether it had gone into a cardiac arrest, the defibrillator will diagnose if an electrical shock is needed, however if the patient doesn't need to be shocked the defibrillator will not shock.

A defibrillator is very safe and easy to use 

Are defibrillators easy to use?

Defibrillators are designed to be used by a layperson via a series of visual and voice prompts that will take you through a step by step process 

Can I cause harm by using a defibrillator? 

No. A defibrillator is very safe and easy to use. It will only deliver a shock to a patient when needed. it WILL NOT shock in error. 

Can I be sued for using a defibrillator? 

It is very unlikely in English law for a person to be held liable. it would have to be proven that the intervention would make the situation worse than no intervention at all. In the case of a cardiac arrest the person is technically dead so intervention could not have made matters any worse.

No case has been successfully brought against a person who has provided first aid in the UK

Can a defibrillator cause harm to the user? 

No. There's are no recorded incidents in the UK of a rescuer coming to harm when using a defibrillator. 

Can a defibrillator cause harm to a pregnant women?

Yes. A mother will need to be resuscitated if an unborn baby is to survive.

Can I use a defibrillator on a child?

Yes. You can use a defibrillator on a child between 1-8 years child, some models have a selector switch to switch to child mode and with others you need to attach the child approved pads.

What is a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD)?

A PAD is placed in an outside location allowing anyone to access the defibrillator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The defibrillator is stored in an external storage cabinet, these are registered with the ambulance service and access details are given through 999 or 112

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