South Eastern Railway staff save a man’s life at Maidstone East station with a defibrillator

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A platform-based defibrillator helped two railway workers save the life of a passenger when they fell ill.

Laura McMahon, 33, and Sebastian Szymanski, 45, worked at maidstone at Gare de l’Est when a customer rushed into the office saying a man had suddenly collapsed and had a heart attack in the parking lot.

Laura McMahon and Sebastian Szymanski used a defibrillator to save the life of a member of the public at Maidstone East station. Photo: Southeast

Passenger Stuart Legg, 56, had been on a day trip to London with his fiancee but returned early, feeling unwell and thinking he had indigestion.

Laura said: “When something like this happens the adrenaline takes over. I grabbed the defibrillator and Seb and I headed to the parking lot where another passenger was already doing CPR.”

The pair dialed 999 but before paramedics could arrive they were able to use the defibrillator to save Stuart’s life.

Seb added: “I put the phone on speaker so we could follow the instructions given to us. The defibrillator told us what to do and was so easy to use. It analyzes the heart rhythm of the patient and only delivers a shock when needed. . None of us hesitated to help because in this kind of situation, you just do what you have to do.”

Thanks to the couple, Stuart made a full recovery and Laura, who has since become friends with Stuart’s partner Natalie, was even invited to their wedding.

Stuart said: “I fell ill very suddenly, suffering near fatal cardiac arrest coming off the train. If it weren’t for the quick actions of the staff and the use of the newly fitted defibrillator, I wouldn’t be here with my family today.

“They saved my life – they are heroes. This equipment is essential and could save other people’s lives, as it did for me.”

Southeastern emphasized the importance of having defibrillators on site by announcing all Kent the stations are now equipped with them.

The rail network has announced that automated external defibrillators, known as AEDs, have been deployed at 164 stations and 17 depots in Kent, London and parts of East Sussex.

The move promises to benefit staff, customers and local communities as it can increase survival rates in cardiac arrest outside of hospitals.

According to the British Heart Foundation, more than 30,000 cardiac arrests take place outside of hospitals, with a survival rate of less than one in 10.

Left to right: Lisa Taylor, Laura McMahon, Sebastian Szymanski and David Wornham from the Southeast announce the deployment of defibrillators at all stations in the Southeast network.  Photo: Southeast
Left to right: Lisa Taylor, Laura McMahon, Sebastian Szymanski and David Wornham from the Southeast announce the deployment of defibrillators at all stations in the Southeast network. Photo: Southeast

If a defibrillator is administered within the first minute after a person collapses, the survival rate can be as high as 90%.

For more information on Southeastern’s defibrillators, including a map of where to find them, Click here.

David Wornham, director of passenger services at Southeastern, said: “One of our main goals at Southeastern is to get everyone home safely every day and having defibrillators at each of our stations will play a key role in this regard.

“Having them in accessible public places is vital. At stations they can be used by nearby staff, customers or the public. If someone is in cardiac arrest, the first thing to do is dial the 999. The operator will be able to speak to the caller about the location of their nearest defibrillator and provide a PIN code to access it from a secure cabinet.

“There is no training required to use these defibrillators – the unit will walk you through exactly what you need to do. I can understand some people being reluctant to use an AED, but they are really very easy to use. We have staff who saved passengers’ lives with a defibrillator, so we know how vital they are.”

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