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health

Lifesaving by text message

Published onsdag 27 oktober 2010 kl 15.13
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/Scanpix

If you or someone close to you is unlucky enough to suffer from a heart attack in Stockholm, the first people knocking on your door to help might not be the ambulance service, but a neighbour from down the road.

Almost 2,000 volunteers trained in resuscitation techniques are currently part of a scheme where they get a text message from the emergency services when someone in their area suffers heart failure.

The idea is that they can get to the victim quicker than the ambulance, and give vital lifesaving heart massage, before the ambulance crews arrive and take over.

Martin Dahlberg is one of the volunteers:

"One evening I was sitting at home reading, then I got the text message and ran about 200 metres to the person's home. I rang the doorbell, a man opened, and his wife was lying on the floor, so I started giving her heart massage"

Around 900 people in Stockholm suffer from heart attacks each year, and many of them die - although almost 100,000 Stockholmers have learned resuscitation.

As part of the new scheme - emergency text messages have been sent out 72 times so far - volunteers have reached the heart patient before ambulance crews in about ten percent of the cases.

The Stockholm authorities now plan to investigate how many lives have been saved by the scheme - before deciding whether to make it a permanent part of emergency services in the capital.

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