Defibrillators 'could help save lives'

A CHARITY has called for heart shock equipment to be made available in all communities as well sports facilities to help save lives.

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The Arrhythmia Alliance made the call after the deaths of two teenage footballers.

It said provision of defibrillators which jump start the heart after cardiac arrest saved footballer Fabrice Muamba and golfer Bernard Gallagher when they had heart attacks.

The call came after former Hearts trainee Jamie Skinner, 14, collapsed during a match for his new team Tynecastle FC in Edinburgh. His death came only hours after Hibs youth team member David Paul was found dead at his home in Edinburgh.

The death of 18-year-old David is the second tragedy to hit his family, five years after his sister Jennifer died in her sleep aged 16.

Jamie's club said after his death that "despite the valiant attempts of everyone at the game, and the ambulance service, attempts to revive him were sadly in vain". It is unclear at this stage what caused the deaths or what treatment was given to Jamie. Post mortem examinations are being carried out.

The organisation, also known as the Heart Rhythm Charity that links with similar campaigners across the world, said all communities should have access to the equipment.

Trudie Lobban, founder and chief executive of Arrhythmia Alliance, said that if there is a history of cardiac illness in a family full screening should be done and if there is an underlying condition it should be treated. She said: "Arrhythmia's (heart rhythm disorders) can be diagnosed and treated and many lives could be saved. Even more lives could be saved if a defibrillator was close at hand.

"The Arrhythmia Alliance (A-A) campaign aims to place defibrillators available 24/7 in communities across the UK to save more lives."

At the weekend, the Liberal Democrat's Scottish health spokesman Jim Hume called for defibrillators to be available at more schools and leisure centres. The party obtained figures which reveal that only a fifth of sites have the equipment.

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