Defibrillators saves man's life at Taren Point gym

Heart Start: Mark Capelin from Tribe fitness donates a HeartSine defibrillator from Scott Longmuir to De La Salle Caringbah Head Peter Buxton through the Forward Hearts campaign. Picture: John Veage
Heart Start: Mark Capelin from Tribe fitness donates a HeartSine defibrillator from Scott Longmuir to De La Salle Caringbah Head Peter Buxton through the Forward Hearts campaign. Picture: John Veage

A life and death battle which was waged after a member of a local gym went into cardiac arrest during a fitness class has highlighted the need for more defibrillators to be available throughout the shire, said a former Cronulla Sharks footballer.

While Mark Capelin - who represented the Sharks in the early 2000s and now owns the Tribe Social Fitness Centre at Taren Point - praised the cool and calm nature of his staff and members who performed CPR on the man, he was also thankful that he’d invested in a HeartSine defibrillator.

“The doctor told us that the man concerned was probably going to experience a heart attack that day, regardless of whether he was exercising or not,” Mr Capelin said.

“It’s extremely lucky he was near a defib when it happened. We are also very thankful that we were able to keep him alive until the ambulance arrived.

“The defibrillator was a godsend because in an obvious pressured situation it provided clear and concise verbal feedback on the rate of applied CPR.

“It was reassuring for our staff to hear the machine telling them that they were doing a good job of applying CPR.”

Statistics which compare the survival rate of people who go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital in Australia to Seattle in the US emphasised the need for more defibrillators in the community, says Scott Longmuir.

Mr Longmuir owns Heart Starters Australia, the company which distributes the HeartSine machine. 

“In Australia there is around a nine percent survival rate outside of hospital if someone goes into cardiac arrest,” he said. “However, in Seattle there’s a 62 per cent survival rate because of their CPR and Defib culture.

“If more people in Australia followed Mark Capelin’s lead at Tribe Social Fitness, thousands more lives could be saved, thousands of families could possibly be spared heartache and grief.”

As a direct result of this life saving event and Mr Longmuir’s “Forward Hearts” initiative, De La Salle College Caringbah was presented with a free defibrillator.

“Forward Hearts allows for the survivor of a sudden cardiac arrest  in which a HeartSine defibrillator was used to help save another person’s life by nominating a HeartSine Samaritan PAD to be donated to the charity or organisation of their choice,”  Mr Longmuir said.

The school’s principal, Mr Peter Buxton, expressed his appreciation for being nominated by Tribe Social Fitness for the new device before adding his training made him realise how it could play an important role saving a life.

“I’m a huge advocate for having more defibs in the community,” he said. “I am also a first aid trainer and I know how crucial these devices are in the chain of survival.”

Mr Longmuir said he wished everyone in the community had the same attitude of Mr Capelin and Mr Buxton, saying some people were unnecessarily scared of the “unknown”.

“I’ve found some people have a fear of defibs, but the devices are designed to be as easy to use as possible - and they do save people’s lives,” he said.

“Communities such as the shire need to continue to embrace CPR training and the use of defibrillators like they do in Seattle where defibs are present throughout the community and CPR accreditation is more prevalent.”

  • For more details about defibrillators call Heart Starters Australia on 0430 700 672 or visit its Facebook Page.