Your Heart Hospital Patient Conference


Damien O'Brien
Your Heart Hospital Patient Conference

On Restart A Heart Day, Wednesday 16th October 2019, several of us in Yr12 and Yr13 who study biology were given the opportunity to visit Harefield Hospital to be enriched by practitioners who specialise in cardiology. The day was filled with a myriad of talks and activities that really benefited us in carving our future medical careers.

The day opened with a talk by Professor Simon Ray from Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, who has been an Honorary Professor of Cardiology since 2011. He spoke about taking up training, working and the use of simulators to optimise practice.

This was followed by Dr Miles who surprised us with a brief history of the hospital itself, informing us that in 1915, the buildings we were in constituted grandiose stately home that was purchased and repurposed as an Anzac hospital in the great war. This was a great introduction into the jam-packed day.  He then went on to enrich us with knowledge of the difference between heart attacks and cardiac arrests, their prevention and emergency treatment.

Professor William Toff expanded on this by explaining why it is vital that the general public are aware of how to perform CPR, comfortable with it and how to safely use a defibrillator, whilst urging us to spread the message to our family and friends. I can speak for many by saying how shocked I was to become aware of how crucial it is to know how to perform CPR or use a defibrillator as the number of people with cardiac arrests is equivalent to a passenger plane crashing every 10 days, with a less than 1 in 10 chance of survival. And that 80% of cardiac arrests occur at home!

When you come across an unconscious person:

  1. Danger: asses danger to yourself or the patient

  2. Response: Check for a response

  3. Shout: And send for help, call 999 or 112

  4. Airway: Slightly tilt the person’s head upwards to allow their airway to be fully open, check for obstructions

  5. Breathing: Check if they are breathing for 10 seconds: brea

  6. Circulation: Check for a pulse: circulation

Remember this by DR’s ABC.

  • If they are not breathing, then perform 30 chest compressions, pushing the chest down by about one third.
  • Give two emergency breaths.

  • If you are able to have access to a defibrillator (AED – automated external defibrillator), use without hesitation and follow the instructions provided with the kit; standing clear of the person when the defibrillator is in use. The defibrillator will talk to through the procedure.

  • Continue chest compressions and rescue breaths until the ambulance arrives.

The AED may be the lifesaver. For every minute that passes, the probability of survival decreases by 10%, so just knowing how to perform this is enough to potentially save a life. Evidence suggests that early education will significantly improve outcomes, and by June 2020, it is expected that it is expected to be on the school curriculum.

After this, we were introduced to Dr Shouvik Bandar, an electrophysiologist, who spoke of arrhythmia issues demonstrated through dance moves, which definitely caused many of us to laugh. Two of our classmates, Arash and La’Raib, had the delight of demonstrating these moves to everyone, and I am sure they have a greater understanding of arrhythmia issues as a result.

Dr Rob Smith, the very famous 6’5’’ doctor, enlightened us with topics other than his height by speaking about valve issues, discussing replacements and high risks that come with it and revolutionary treatments which have very low risks that hopefully we can see coming to operating theatres soon. Currently, open heart surgery is being supplanted by transcatheter techniques, a massive step forward to bettering healthcare and improved recovery.

The last session was conducted by Alison Pottle, a nursing consultant specialising in cardiology who delivered a masterclass in resuscitation. Many of us had the chance to revive poor Tony the dummy on countless occasions, and it is fair to say we are on the road to becoming experts in conducting CPR.

The day was concluded with us being given the opportunity to speak to many of the doctors and nurses, ask questions and speaking about possible careers.

We are very thankful that Mr O’Brien provided us with the opportunity to go to the hospital which really helped many of us carve and fine-tune our medical interests and potential medical careers.

Written by Lakshaa Srishankar

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