An elderly man’s life has been saved using a defibrillator installed in Whitstable just months ago.
Shopkeeper Bev Newton has spoken of the moment she and a holidaying doctor rushed to save the man when he went into cardiac arrest in the high street.
Mrs Newton was in her vintage shop Memories & Moonbeams when she saw a man stagger and fall to the pavement outside.
“It was a very hot day, and he looked to be in his 70s,” said Mrs Newton. “I went straight out and tried to help him.
“I telephoned 999 and they told us what to do. I was putting him in the recovery position when an off-duty doctor just happened to walk by.
“He was on holiday – it was the first day of his vacation. He knelt down beside the gentleman, and asked if there was a defibrillator anywhere because his breathing was very shallow.
“A lady ran to get the defibrillator from the Playhouse Theatre across the road, but she came back saying you need a code to get it off the wall.
“So I said ‘just go back and rip it off the wall’, and she did.
“The doctor took off the man’s shirt, said ‘clear’ and we gave him a big shock that lifted the man’s chest and he started breathing again.”
The doctor, whose identity is unknown, then administered CPR with the help of another bystander.
When an ambulance and two paramedic cars arrived, the patient was taken to the QEQM hospital in Margate.
“The paramedic came back at about 3.30pm, and thanked everyone who helped,” said Mrs Newton. “He said without our help the gentleman would not have survived the journey to hospital. It was amazing.
“I hope the man is OK.
“I feel very proud we saved him. We’re part of the community – it’s what we do.”
Ambulance service spokesman Richard Airey also praised Mrs Newton and others who helped the man.
He said: “It’s fantastic that through calling 999 they then administered CPR and then gave a shock to the patient.
“We hope he will continue to recover, and we thank everyone for their help.”
The defibrillator used was donated to the Playhouse by Whitstable and Herne Bay Lions at the start of this year.
The organisation has also donated a £1,500 machine to Reculver Country Park and another to Seasalter Sailing Club– though the latter was stolen in 2017.
On the recent events, Lions president Mike Shaw said: “It’s done what defibrillators are supposed to do – it’s helped to save somebody’s life.
“As a result of this, Barton Medical Services in Faversham has offered to train all Lions in the district on using defibrillators, free of charge.”