Runners Carrying Defibs

Dear runners I am a paramedic in the South East and a keen distance runner. I was particularly moved by the death of a young runner in the Brighton marathon this weekend. While it won't help to go into the ins and outs of why this may have happened and what may have helped this is a tragedy I am sure you'll agree and my sincere. Condolences go out to the family of this man. In my professional experience the key to survival of sudden cardiac death is early defibrillation so how would you view a charity that provides "pocket" defibrillators to runners in distance events along with some basic life support training? If deployment of these really intuitive and easy to use devices were spread across different abilities this would assure that runners are never more than a few minutes away from help. Each unit weighs about 1kg and if fundraising goes well the charity I would set up would pay entry for the runners carrying these devices and they wold have a special t shirt. I really would appreciate any comments from runners on how you would feel about this the good and the bad. Many thanks.

Comments

  • Unless you can get a a significant number of runners to carry them, they'll be of little use - wrong place, right time, and all that.

    Would you also suggest that people carry them all the time as a matter of routine?

  • It's a nice idea but cost v benefit ? Would the money be better placed into research or health scans possibly ? I'm no expert so I'll bow to those who are.



    I'd run with one if I wasn't trying to PB.
  • Stuart. Let the dust settle and the facts emerge before you try to personally benefit from the death of this poor young man.
  • And better to give them to marshalls, or a direction marker with integral kit.

  • In all the events I have done I have never needed to stop and provide assistance let alone come across someone suffering a cardiac arrest.

    1kg is a lot of weight to run with. If a significant number of people in the event had basic life support skills and were able to apply them promptly and correctly I am sure that this could help.

    But is this a common enough incident to justify the expense? If it is then I would agree with Mad4morris above

  • Intriguing suggestion. I had an SCA at the end of a race and now have my own personal defibrillator (built in though so no use for other runners image). I am always very conscious of how every minute counts once you are out. I've not heard of pocket ones though, do these exist and how big are they?

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    I'm sure it's well-meaning, but my guess is that it would be counterproductive in a major way. This sounds dramatic, but I honestly think it would lead to dozens  (probably hundreds) of additional deaths a year, because it would be impossible to communicate properly with the uneducated public.

    If we start handing out defibrillators to ordinary runners / charity runners... then what message does that send out?  I honestly think you'll put a lot of people off running...  maybe put them off for life.  And we know the massive health/happiness benefits of running - and how good it is in preventing heart disease, cancer and diabetes etc.

    On the other hand, how many Sudden Cardiac Arrests are there in these big races?  I honestly don't know, but let's assume it's 3 per year (I suspect it might be fewer), and assume  that half of the time you manage to get one of these defibs to a patient within 5 minutes, - and assume that the defib works 33% of the time....  you'll save 1 life every 2 years.

    I see it as a complete non-starter. Thinking about it, if those assumed stats are right, then even an apparently good idea to have one with a first aider at every mile marker would  in fact be a bad idea.

  • Of the 11 people who have died in the London marathon I don't know how many of them had cardiac arrests. But if there were 5 of them over 30 years from 35000 runners per year that's a very low risk. Add that to the one in three chance that it might work and once again you carry defibs for thirty years at great expense to save one life.
  • Nice idea but in a crowd of nearly 35,000 runners you would need hundreds of these volunteers to carry one and for the reletivly few CA is it likely to attract much support.

  • Run Wales wrote (see)

    I'm sure it's well-meaning, but my guess is that it would be counterproductive in a major way. This sounds dramatic, but I honestly think it would lead to dozens  (probably hundreds) of additional deaths a year, because it would be impossible to communicate properly with the uneducated public.

    If we start handing out defibrillators to ordinary runners / charity runners... then what message does that send out?  I honestly think you'll put a lot of people off running...  maybe put them off for life.  And we know the massive health/happiness benefits of running - and how good it is in preventing heart disease, cancer and diabetes etc.

    On the other hand, how many Sudden Cardiac Arrests are there in these big races?  I honestly don't know, but let's assume it's 3 per year (I suspect it might be fewer), and assume  that half of the time you manage to get one of these defibs to a patient within 5 minutes, - and assume that the defib works 33% of the time....  you'll save 1 life every 2 years.

    I see it as a complete non-starter. Thinking about it, if those assumed stats are right, then even an apparently good idea to have one with a first aider at every mile marker would  in fact be a bad idea.

    Thank you for this I have had a look at some of the stats around this and the risk assosiated with long Q-T and sudden cardiac arrest in the healthy. Initailly I was mindful of my experience running the Beachy Head in the middle of Friston Forest with limited access for adequate services and how this may be addressed balanced with as you say the likelyhood in the first place which I agree is limited. Please do consider that most shopping centres have defibs and cardiac arrest is also quite unlikely within this environment (again anecdotally) but the NHS spend a lot of money putting defibs in public places just in case and national ambulance performance times are related to access to defibrillators.

    Thank you for taking to time to respond I value your comments and it is most interesting you find that this may be percieved neagatively I had not considered this at all. Defibrilltors are such an ordinary piece of first aid equipment these days and time between collapse and defibrillation is key to survival so I had naturally thought that this was simply a way of reducing this time backed with education. I take the point about the numbers needed but as said if spread over differing abilities this would mitigate this in part in the "Friston Forest" picture I painted.

     

    Again thanks for your comments.

  • might be a good for marshalls

  • When we ran Paris last week there were defibs all over the route with large signs showing where they were..

    .. The chances of a runner being in the right place at the right time is so slight that it really isn't worth the effort of carrying one, Plus at my size carrying an extra kilo or two is more likely to give me cause to need one !!!

  • runkeeper if your suggestion saves one life every year, 10 years,50 years it will become a great idea. Anything that saves a life is worth considering, life is always more important than cost and I say well done to you for trying to come up with a solution that may help.

    It's an idea you have at the moment and of course many details will need ironed out but good luck, I wish you well.
  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭
    seren nos wrote (see)

    might be a good for marshalls

    It might be.  As RunKeeper says, defibs are becoming much more common nowadays - so less 'scary' - and I guess that you, me and most regular runners would take such a move in our stride..

    But what about people who don't run?  People who are a bit overweight and unfit - who see newspaper headlines about runners dying in marathons.   For those people, if they hear that all the marshalls will be kitted out with defibrillators - just in case running causes them to have a cardiac arrest... will it be reassuring? or will it have the opposite effect?

    It's those people who have most to gain from running... and, IMO, those people who are most likely to be put off.  And given the tiny number of SCA lives savable, it only takes a few unfit people to be frightened away from running to mean that the defribillators actually cost lives in the long run.

    And, IMO, the association between defibs with running would lead to thousands /tens of thousands of unfit people quietly deciding not to take this perceived risk... and we'd never know anything about it.

  • Do fat / unhealthy people really consider :-

    a  running .

    b that thier local supermarket has a defib

    c that changing thier lifestyle would negate the need for defibs

    d or do they just carry on smoking and eating Maccy D's

     

    Think you are trying to solve a problem that isn't really there

  • Wouldn't it be better if needed just to have a couple of trained motorcycle paramedics on the course? If stationed at sensible points they could probably get to almost any point on a marathon within a few minutes.

    As terrible an incident as this latest was it still remains an extremely isolated one and I partially agree with others in that I think it an over reaction. If it went ahead and say there were 30 runners with the defibs but none got to the scene in time and someone died would we get to the point where all runners had to carry one? Life itself is a risk - let's not make it overly complicated too!

  • Bigeater - you'd spend millions if it saved one life every fifty years.

    You could have spent that money on screening or research that could have saved an awful lot more lives ?



    What makes more sense?
  • spend the money where it's going to have the most benefit. GPs should give out defibs to overweight patients and those most at risk of SCA, to put next to their stairs and/or couch. If saving lives is what you're interested in, target the money where it will have most impact.

  • but AG.....surely someone can't use them on themselves.so not sure why you give them to individuals

     

  • Save the money and make everyone have a medical or ECG prior to the event like you have to for certain races on the continent. One a year would probably do and gives you a certificate to enter races for that year....would it stop incidents like the lad that over hydrated the other year at VLM...no, might it pick up all those with odd heart rythum...maybe.

     

  • Naive comment of the year. Doesn't matter how much it costs if it saved one life a year(worldwide)
  • The odds of dying in a marathon are something like 100,000 to 1. So possibly there are other places you could put a defibrillator that would be more likely to save lives.

    The BHF provides defibrillators for community use so maybe you should contact them as a starting point.

  • I don't agree that it " Doesn't matter how much it costs if it saved one life a year(worldwide)".

    Spending millions to save one life a year is a very limited benefit, and if you spend millions saving one life, then it has to come from other areas thereby depriving other people of benefit (and possibly having their lives saved).

     

     

  • As for carrying around something that weighs a kilo - no thanks.

    At most races there seems to be a St John Ambulance or two around - won't they have a defib, and the expertise to use it?

  • Wilkie wrote (see)

    As for carrying around something that weighs a kilo - no thanks.

    At most races there seems to be a St John Ambulance or two around - won't they have a defib, and the expertise to use it?

    You would hope so; and of course their chances of survival could be increased if a first aid trained bystander is 'on the chest' doing CPR.... knowledge weighs nothing!

  • seren nos wrote (see)

    but AG.....surely someone can't use them on themselves.so not sure why you give them to individuals

     

    Same reasoning as carrying an epi pen - you hope someone lese would apply it to you if the need arose. But I don't think it's feasible - no-one runs a marathon who THINKS they're likely to keel over!

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