Cardiac Arrest at Torridge. Lessons for Clubs.

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Please scroll to bottom of this post for the Regatta Results. Pic above courtesy of Boscastle & Crackington Gig Club.

Lucy Routley from Torridge pilot gig club sent us the report following Torridge’s regatta on Saturday.

Today’s regatta held by Torridge pilot gig club saw a member from bideford pilot gig club suffer a cardiac arrest during the first few minutes of the men’s B race.

The actions taken by those immediately involved where those which undoubtedly saved the gentlemans life. This started with the quick notification by the cox to the safety boat, and the safety boats prompt response in transfering the gentleman to shore while initiating CPR. Upon reaching the shore CPR was then continued by a trained nurse and GP trainee (on holiday from oxford)

By using one of the 2 defibrillators situated in appledore a ‘shock’ was given and the gentleman’s heart restarted and he regained consciousness. After assistance by the paramedics he was air lifted to Royal Devon and Exeter hospital where his condition is reported to be stable.

The paramedics praised the prompt action of those that assisted and the effectiveness of the CPR which saved his life.

Having rowed for over 8 years it is only in the last 12 months that I have seen or heard about such events. Firstly at teign regatta last season, then the scillies 2015 and now at torridge regatta. This is a stark reminder of the potential consequences on someone’s life if appropriate equipment and trained individuals are not around to support life saving interventions or even minor first aid.

As a club we will produce a report and from this there will be highlighted points of education for all and I hope the wider gig community. It is also important that a debrief of the event is considered for all participating parties as cardiac events in or out of hospital can be very stressful and upsetting for all involved or witnessing.

As a torridge club member, a healthcare professional and person assisting in this event I would like to thank all those involved in the immediate resuscitation and those that offered assistance during the event from notifying the emergency services, collecting the defibrillator, assisting with moving and handling of the gentleman, providing shade, clearing the slipway and much much more.

Some early learning points that I would like to pass on to other clubs….

1. Essential to have one or two designated first aiders at any club event. We had 3 official first aiders spread over the regatta

2. The need to have a trained first aider on safety boats.

3. A clear action plan of who is responsible for what in the event of an emergency. Calling 999, collecting equipment, dealing with the public, liasing with the safety boat as to what to do (bringing individuals to shore in the safest way and the most appropriate place).

‘At our regatta an announcement was made to call 999. At this point a number of people were on the phone to the emergency services. This caused confusion with the location of the gentleman but did not delay treatment or time for services to respond. However it did clog up the call lines to the emergency services and confused the call centre as to number of casualties. The safety boat was directed to another slipway which was much quieter and away from other gigs and users.

The regatta carried on which was at the request of Bideford gig club. Our thoughts are with the family and Friends of the individual and we hope he makes a speedy and full recovery.

To summarise todays events it is clear that Prompt action combined with the trained and experienced individuals undoutably save lives. My advice to other clubs is to have a much more in depth plan for such events to ensure efficient and effective care can be given to those in need.

Torridge Results

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3 Comments on "Cardiac Arrest at Torridge. Lessons for Clubs."

  1. John Lane

    I have been a first aider for many years and the biggest advance for cardiac arrest is the defibrillator and the simplicity of it’s use. I have been trained to use it and have seen it can save lives. It certainly did at Teign and sounds like it did here. It’s vital that responsible nominated people know where they are and how to access them. In my view they should be available at all gig events and even on popular beaches. They do cost several thousand pounds but as we have seen they are life savers!!

  2. Tristan

    At the beginning of the year we sent information to the CPGA about an organisation called Coastmedic. It’s a charity that will supply a fully qualified paramedic to an event with a defib machine and Medication etc. that’s sole remit is to deliver care on the water.
    Mevagissey utilised this service for our event, Luke was fantastic, professional and very passionate about the charity that he works for, as a club we would highly recommend Coastmedic as this year has seen more medical emergencies than any other. Their contact details are

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