A CALL has been made for more life-saving defibrillators in Stratford town centre following a dramatic river rescue.
A senior member of Stratford Boat Club suffered a suspected heart attack and cardiac arrest while rowing on the Avon near the theatre on Wednesday evening (July 29).
The single scull capsized leaving the man in his 50s underwater.
Fellow rowers quickly dragged the victim to the riverbank and began CPR while a medical student used a defibrillator from the nearby theatre before medics arrived on scene shortly before 8pm.
The victim was then flown by air ambulance to hospital in Coventry where his condition was yesterday (Thursday) described as stable.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Crews administered advanced life support and he was sedated by the air ambulance doctor before being flown to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire and its awaiting trauma team.
“It is another example of why we want as many defibrillators in public places as possible.”
Elizabeth Dixon, Stratford resident and West Midlands Ambulance Service Public Governor for Coventry and Warwickshire, has long campaigned to get more defibrillators in the town.
She told The Observer: “I’ve spent time over the last year or so asking and suggesting to businesses and organisations in Stratford that we need more public defibrillators.
“The reasons not to have one have been amazing and shocking, so perhaps it’s time for attitudes to change.”
There are currently defibrillators outside the district’s council’s Elizabeth House headquarters in Church Street, Loxley’s in Sheep Street, and Prontaprint in Greenhill Street.
But Mrs Dixon says two of them are too high for the average person to reach and she has made calls for them to be lowered.
There are also two others – at the RST – available 24/7 from the Stage Door – and at the town’s M&S in Bridge Street.
Mrs Dixon added: “The more defibrillators the better. They are not difficult to use as the emergency services operator talks you through each step of the way.
“I want to make sure there is a network across town so one is always nearby. I understand they’re around £400 to buy and install for which the British Heart Foundation can give advice.
“It’s a small cost to try and save a life.”
Residents on the Trinity Mead estate have already rallied together to raise the money for a defibrillator, which is soon set be installed outside the Co-op.