Monday, 26 October 2020
Veterans Health Week, Heart Health: Automated External Defibrillators
At Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan on the weekend, I celebrated the launch of Veterans Health Week with the federal Veterans Motorcycle Club, Open Arms and the Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, who was there to donate an automated external defibrillator, or AED, and he shared his story about surviving a heart attack. It was great to be with the Veterans Motorcycle Club, Open Arms and Greg as we celebrated the launch of Veterans Health Week.
Greg's story is a good one. On 17 January, after a bushfire relief concert at Castle Hill RSL, Greg had a sudden cardiac arrest and he was in real trouble. Luckily, the quick attention of those around him and the availability of an AED nearby meant that Greg survived. He's now on a mission to save Aussie lives by sharing his newfound knowledge about sudden cardiac arrest and, in particular, the terrible death toll each year due to low survival rates if AEDs are not available. It's hard to fathom that, in Australia in 2020, there's a very low survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest. Around 30,000 Australians lose their lives each year because of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Why is this death rate so high? The community is not adequately armed with two links in the chain of survival. The first one is CPR and the second one is these AEDs. Calling triple 0, as important as it is, is often not enough to save the life of someone who is in cardiac arrest. As many honourable members know, it takes a while for an ambulance to get there. In the case of a sudden cardiac arrest, the brain has already started to die. AEDs play a very important role in measuring the heart rate and applying an amount of electrical energy into the heart to get the heart started again.
Not long after his cardiac arrest, Greg realised that he had no idea where AEDs were in the community. Most honourable members would maybe scratch their heads as well. I know near my office in Casuarina there's an AED in the Woolies across the road, but I think more work is needed. I commend Greg Page, the yellow Wiggle, for taking up this cause. We need more standardisation around the country. We need AEDs more available in more places and then we'll start to save some those 30,000 lives annually that are lost in a sudden cardiac arrest. Well done, Greg Page.