Family of cardiac arrest victim donates defibrillator in mother's memory

volunteer paramedic with family of patient

(R-L) Martin Grove with Erica Brennan and George Ling - Credit: EEAS

A Beccles family who lost their mother to a cardiac arrest has made a potentially life-saving donation to the GoodSAM scheme at the East of England Ambulance Service. 

The Ling family wanted to do something in their mother's memory to help their community, after learning about the lack of access that GoodSAM volunteers have to defibrillators.

GoodSAM is a scheme that alerts off-duty and volunteer healthcare professionals to patients who are suffering a cardiac arrest within an 800-metre radius. They are then alerted of the nearest defibrillator. 

This was the case on February 15, when volunteer Martin Grove was alerted to 69-year-old Penny Ling, who had collapsed at her home in Beccles.

Mr Grove: "I knew that I’d have to make a call about whether to go one way and grab the local automated external defibrillator or head the other way and go straight to the patient. With a cardiac arrest every second counts - I took the decision to go directly to the patient." 


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When Mr Grove arrived, he began performing CPR. Despite the ambulance being on its way with a defibrillator, they were unable to save Mrs Ling, who died at the scene.

The East of England Ambulance service are urging the public not to dial 999 to check when their ambulance will arrive

The East of England Ambulance Service matched the Ling's donation to allow Mr Grove to buy the AED - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Erica Brennan, Mrs Ling's daughter, heard about the impossible decision that Mr Grove had to make and her family decided to donate to East of England Ambulance Service, which the service matched. This allowed Mr Grove to purchase a defibrillator of his own. 

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Mr Grove said: "This generous donation really will make a difference to many lives. When a call comes in, I can just head straight to every patient and hopefully save some of those vital early minutes."

Ms. Brennan explained why the donation was so important to the family: "Myself, my sister and lots of our family and friends live in and around Beccles and it was important to us that the next time Martin got a call he would be able to head straight to his patient and have a defibrillator on hand.

"It was something we could do in mum’s memory that, hopefully, will make a big difference to patients in our area in the future."

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