A CAMPAIGNING Coventry mother who lost her daughter to a sudden cardiac arrest has welcomed news secondary school children will be taught life-saving CPR techniques.
West Midlands Ambulance Service says thousands of lives could be saved in years to come.
The government is planning to make health education compulsory in all state-funded schools.
Under the proposed new guidance, by the end of secondary school, pupils will be taught how to administer CPR, the purpose of defibrillators, and basic treatments for common injuries.
Karen Bury has for years been campaigning for better education about the risks of cardiac arrests and how to treat them.
Her daughter Ella Bury, 17, had her life tragically cut short by a cardiac arrest – sometimes referred to as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome.
Karen, from Eastern Green, Coventry, has preserved her daughter’s legacy by trying to make sure the region’s schools and sports clubs have access to life-saving defibrillators.
She said the news was the perfect gift as her daughter would have turned 22 tomorrow (January 9).
She said: “I’m delighted that, at last, school children will be taught how to save lives.
“This is long overdue as it’s a basic skill everyone should have.
“Soon we will have a generation of people who won’t be scared to help when someone is facing serious risk of death because the myths around CPR and defibrillators will no longer exist.”
Karen has raised more than £20,000 since Ella died in 2014, enough money to fund the installation of 19 defibrillators at sports clubs, schools and community centres – including Coventry Rugby Club.
She has been raising money for Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome UK (SADS UK) – a charity which seeks to make defibrillators as commonly available as fire extinguishers.
A WMAS spokesperson said it attends about 4,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests each year – with only seven per cent of patients surviving.
The spokesperson called the figure ‘shocking’ especially when in some countries like Denmark, around a quarter survive.
Cliff Medlicott WMAS community response manager said: “There is no doubt that coming across a cardiac arrest is scary.
“In a cardiac arrest, the patient will be unconscious and their heart won’t be beating – they are clinically dead – unless someone is prepared to do something.
“Giving CPR buys the patient time, so the ambulance service can get there.
“You can’t hurt the person; doing something can only help.
“For every minute without life-saving treatment the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by about 10 per cent – meaning that the time before an ambulance arrives is crucial.
“A cardiac can strike anyone at any time: it could be a loved one, a friend, a complete stranger.
“If you know what to do, you could help save their life.”
As we reported Karen held a charity ball in her daughter’s memory last month which raised £6,000 – enough for defibrillators to be fitted in five Coventry schools.