‘Pals with no medical training brought me back from dead with phone box defibrillator’

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A team of ‘SuperDaves’ saved the life of fellow Dave, Dave Briffitt, after coming across a defibrillator in a phone box after their mate collapsed – the device was so easy to use and the Mirror is campaigning to make them compulsory

L-R 'SuperDaves' David Pound, 53, David Lindsay, 54, David Porter 53, Dave Briffitt, 54 with fellow heroes Geoff Webb 54, Tony Fogg, 55
L-R ‘SuperDaves’ David Pound, 53, David Lindsay, 54, David Porter 53, Dave Briffitt, 54 with fellow heroes Geoff Webb 54, Tony Fogg, 55

A cardiac arrest victim miraculously brought ‘back from the dead’ is backing our crusade to put defibrillators in all public buildings.

Dave Briffitt, 54, was enjoying a walk with six close pals when he collapsed.

Readings from his Garmin proactive fitness device show that his heart stopped beating as his friends leapt into action.

They managed to maintain his heart rate at 30 beats per minute before a defibrillator was located in a former telephone kiosk – and saved his life.

The Mirror is calling for the Government to support MP Jim Shannon’s ‘Public Access to Automatic External Defibrillators’ bill when it receives its second reading on Friday.

And Dave is firmly behind our campaign.

The phone box defibrillator that was used to save the life of Dave Briffitt
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Image:

Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

A team of ‘SuperDaves’ – David Pound, 53, David Lindsay, 54, David Porter 53, alongside Geoff Webb, 54, Tony Fogg, 55, and Keith O’Boyle, 54 – used CPR and the machine to keep him alive for around half an hour before paramedics arrived.

The £6,000 defibrillator was in a former phone box in Woodcroft, Glos, funded by Tidenham Parish Council. We told how it had saved his life last month.

Dave, an asset planning business lead, was supported in his recovery by wife Nic, 57, daughter Laura, 20, sister Jayne and her hubby Peter Blacklay.

The Mirror is campaigning to make defibrillators compulsory

He is now back home in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, five weeks after he collapsed. “I am really, really well now,” he said. “I can remember people coming to see me in hospital.

“But there is no recollection of the arrest, which considering my heart stopped beating for a while is to be expected.

“I had no near death experience of shining light and walking towards it. But I really appreciate the fact I am still here.”

Heart rate monitor of cardiac arrest victim David Briffitt showing how his heart stopped
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Image:

Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

And he paid tribute to the group – several of them friends from Warwick School which they attended 40 years ago.

“They were so organised, everyone took on a job,” he said. “One was talking to the emergency services, one went to find help and came across the machine, while the remainder worked on CPR. It was easy to use, and there is no doubt it saved my life.

“I support the Mirror campaign to get them into public buildings. The important thing is not to be frightened to help. You have to take the chance to help. If you don’t act, then someone dies.”

He added: “My monitor showed that the heart rate went to zero but they were doing CPR and got it going to about 30 beats per minute which was enough to keep me alive before they put the defibrillator on.

“It was a hell of a long time to be working on me, I am so grateful.

I feel helpless in not being able to thank them well enough – what they did is incredible.”

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He feels ‘really positive’ now and wants to see his daughter turn 21 – ‘I almost did not make that’ – enjoy his retirement for 10 years and ‘outlive whatever age my father gets to’.

And he backs our call for a nationwide register of all defibrillator machines. “I think members of the public, not just emergency services, need to be able to find out where they are with an easy online search.”

The Mirror is campaigning for a new law to be passed making Automated External Defibrillators (AED) a legal requirement in all public places Figures show England has fallen far behind the rest of Great Britain in terms of defibrillator provision. Scotland has more than twice as many devices per person, while Wales has almost six times as many.

It is estimated there are up to 70,000 unregistered devices across the country but 999 call handlers can only direct members of the public to AEDs that have been registered.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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