West Dorset ICD Support Group

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Minutes of Meetings

The forty-sixth meeting of the West Dorset ICD Support Group for ICD patients and carers was held at The Dorford Centre, Dorchester on Thursday, 18th July 2019.


Attendance: 13 members, comprising Committee members, patients and carers, and an Arrhythmia Specialist Nurse.


Apologies were received from: Paddy Lynch, John and Liz Clark, Brenda Newell, George Pearce, Sharon Bourgucci.




Group Secretary Alan Denton opened the meeting and thanked everyone for attending. Alan introduced Chris Davies of the British Red Cross who was delivering a session on the subject of ‘Everyday First Aid'.

Chris started the session by describing an experiment conducted by the British Red Cross. A man lay down on the floor outside a railway station and observers waited to see how long it would be before anyone stopped to help him. The experiment was abandoned after 30 minutes as nobody had stopped. Chris asked why this might be, and the following factors were identified:

  • People were fearful that the man may have been taking drugs or under the influence of alcohol and therefore they might be subject to abuse if they stopped.
  • Lack of knowledge of what to do.
  • Fear for personal safety/being scammed.
  • In a hurry/time pressure
  • Don't want to get involved
  • Fear of being sued/charged with assault


In respect of fears of potential litigation, Chris told the group about the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015. Known as ‘SARAH' The stated purpose of the Act is to provide a greater degree of reassurance and protection to good Samaritans, volunteers and those who may be deterred from participating in socially useful activities due to worries about risk or liability. Under this legislation, if you attempt to assist someone and they claim they have been injured by you they will have no case. Chris added that in some countries individuals have an obligation to assist and provide aid, and some countries insist you have a first aid kit in your car.

Chris emphasised the issue of personal safety. For instance, if you are worried about the individual attacking you, you can remain at a distance and call 'are you alright?' for instance. Even if all you do is call 999 or 111 or seek assistance (e.g. from a nearby shop) this is still ‘first aid', as is telling someone ‘don't worry' or ‘help is coming'.  Another consideration is physical safety, which would cover such situations as not putting yourself in danger from passing traffic, or of getting an electrical shock. Also for instance making sure items are not likely to fall on to you- in summary think about what has happened to the person you are about to assist and make sure if it is an accident that the same thing is not likely to happen to you. Chris reminded everyone that offering assistance is rewarding, you feel a sense of achievement, and this was endorsed by members, some of who had their own accounts of offering assistance to share.


Another factor was that people do tend to follow the herd- if others don't stop to help neither will they. However, if you ask someone to help, they often will if they see someone else taking the initiative.


Chris then ran through some scenarios and members determined what aid might be most useful to offer. These included:

  • Somebody bleeding heavily
  • A suspected broken hip
  • A scald


Chris reminded everybody that by living a comparatively long time most members had life skills and experience through necessity of giving first aid, and this should not be discounted.


Chris then covered a situation where a heart attack was suspected, what possible symptoms might present, and what aid to render. Similarly in the case of a suspected stroke, Chris covered the FAST test (Face - is there a weakness on one side of their face?  Arms- can they raise both arms? Speech- is their speech easily understood? Time- to call 999). Chris reminded everyone that in both scenarios all symptoms don't necessarily present in every case or at the same time. Also, if you suspect a heart attack or stroke when you call 999 say that is what you suspect. A handy tip if in any doubt is call 111, and they can take you through a checklist of symptoms. If they feel that an ambulance should be called they will do so for you, and their calls have a very high priority.


Chris then covered what to do if a person is unconscious or becomes unconscious but breathing (lift chin, put into recovery position) and finally what to do if a person is not or stops breathing, which involved a demonstration of giving chest compressions on a dummy, and a description of using a defibrillator.


At the conclusion of the presentation, WDICDSG members thanked Chris with a round of applause, and Alan presented Chris with a small gift on behalf of the group.



Competition results


A ‘guess the weight of the chickens' quiz supplied and run by Tony Down resulted in three prizes being awarded.



Further meetings


Further meetings for 2019/20 are as follows and are at 10.30 am in the Dorford Centre:


Thursday, 3th October 2019: Andrea Podmore, Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse - healthy living (focus on diet and exercise)


Thursday, 16th January 2020: the history of the Shire Hall and its development into a Museum and local tourist attraction


Date of next meeting


The next meeting will be on 3th October 2019: Andrea Podmore, Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse - healthy living (focus on diet and exercise)