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AIBU to disagree with PTA buying defibrillator for primary school?

(711 Posts)
Babylon1 Thu 31-May-12 22:24:53

That's it really.

I'm on the governing body at local primary school and the PTA have decided they are going to purchase a defibrillator for the first aid kit.

This is really down to one member of the PTA having suffered a terrible loss due to congenital heart defect which was undiagnosed in a child. NOT a child at this school I hasten to add.

Now, as a governing body, we have a wish list of what we would ideally like the PTA to help purchase, and at the moment we are prioritising interactive whiteboards, a new reading scheme and some new phonics materials - resources that will be used EVERY day by the pupils.

The PTA are insistent in buying the defibrillator ASAP, and I am equally insistent that we neither want/need it for the following reasons:

1. The likelihood of it EVER being used is hopefully very very slim

2. There is an ambulance station with trained medics less than 5 mins away at normal driving pace. On blues and twos an ambulance would/could be present inside of two mins.

3. There has been no consultation with staff, yet 5 of them would be expected to be happy to be trained to administer the defibrillator if it
was required.

4. There has been no consultation with parents to ascertain if they would be happy for their DCs to be defibrillated at school by a non-professional medic (I certainly wouldn't be)

Before I would be in the slightest happy about this, I want a demo from the company providing the equipment on how easy it is to use, bearing in mind it is a paediatric defibrillator.

I want to know who will make the decision that the defibrillator is required - ie who is going to diagnose the child with a failing heart?

What happens if/when it goes wrong? Will the administrator of the defibrillator be held responsible?

So am I being unreasonable?? Really appreciate your thoughts here as I need to feed back to governors at next meeting.

scarletforya Thu 31-May-12 22:27:04


My cousin died on the football pitch at school and was brought back to life with a defibrillator. Without that he would be dead and wouldn't be the father of a baby son now.

TartyMcFarty Thu 31-May-12 22:27:11

YANBU for all those reasons. I can imagine it's a very emotive issue though.

DamnBamboo Thu 31-May-12 22:29:10

It is very sad, very sad that such a tragedy has prompted this.

But there are major health and safety issues with having one of these so please look into thist first.

Yes they can save lives, no they're not needed very often at all.

Really, who is going to be responsible for using this and will they be there all the time?

RepublicaEuphemia Thu 31-May-12 22:29:12

YANBU. Anecdotes, sad as they are, do not justify such an expensive purchase.

squeakytoy Thu 31-May-12 22:29:28

YANBU based on your reasons, but could you live with yourself if the worst ever did happen, and a defibrillator could have saved that life?

McHappyPants2012 Thu 31-May-12 22:31:33

2 minutes is a long time with a heart that has stopped beating.

WhiteWidow Thu 31-May-12 22:32:16

They're incredibly easy to use and could save someone's life. I've always said every placed should hav one.

The likelihood that it is used is probably slim but that's not the point.

A defib is used if someone isn't breathing. That isn't hard to tell.

StealthPolarBear Thu 31-May-12 22:32:54

You sound like the only person thinking about this logically. Surely it'd e less risky to call for a nearby ambulance than allow someone relatively untrained to do this (tho I accept in different circumstances it could e the best thing)

workshy Thu 31-May-12 22:32:57

you wouldn't want an untrained person using a defib on your child?

are you serious?? you would rather they wait 5 minutes for the ambulance????

defibs that they have in schools and shopping centers are idiot proof -they tell you if it is appropriate to shock or not

they save lives and IMO every public building should have one

LynetteScavo Thu 31-May-12 22:33:36

" There has been no consultation with staff, yet 5 of them would be expected to be happy to be trained to administer the defibrillator if it
was required."

This is crucial. No point in buying one if no one can/will use it.

A bit more research needs to be done. The PTA should consult all parents, and not go on what 3 individuals decide (which is what seems to be happening at our school atm)

WhiteWidow Thu 31-May-12 22:33:40

I dislike how people justify not getting one 'because they're expensive'. I hate to use overused phrases but 'you can't put a price on a life'.

StealthPolarBear Thu 31-May-12 22:33:53

Hmm if what everyone is saying is true and they're fairly foolproof, then I'd change my mind, maybe

DamnBamboo Thu 31-May-12 22:33:58

You'd be better off making sure all staff were up to date with CPR.

CPR administered properly can prolong a life by a significant period of time.

Is this the case in your school?

Itsjustafleshwound Thu 31-May-12 22:34:06

Yanbu - if you see the issue the school has in just getting approval to administer a bit of medical aid and the whole issue with inhalers and epi-pens I doubt if a school staff member is going to want to take on the responsibility. It seems mad that your PTA have decided on things rather than consulting the school ...

McHappyPants2012 Thu 31-May-12 22:34:21

also the BHF do offer grants

WhiteWidow Thu 31-May-12 22:34:44

Stealthpolarbear they cant do more harm to a person who is already not breathing and unresponsive. Minutes are crucial.

only4tonight Thu 31-May-12 22:35:43

YABU see Fabrice Muamba for your reason why....

nonapandknackered Thu 31-May-12 22:36:20

Hmmn, I'm not sure.

How much do they cost? If they are not outrageously expensive it would be worth it I think. As scarlet has said, they do save lives.

As far as getting it "wrong". This type of machine, that you'll typically find in shops and train stations etc, do all the work for you. You just need to stick the pads in the right place. They don't shock if they don't need to (i.e. they detect a heart rhythm) so you can't shock someone by mistake. In training they always ask for a volunteer to have the pads attached and so far not one person I've seen do it has been shocked as they are alive!
The school would need to factor in the cost of training staff (initial and probably yearly updates) - although I would imagine school staff have to do CPR training so it's can be incorporated into that.

Having access to a defibrillator gives someone who has a cardiac arrest a much bigger chance of survival than having to wait for the paramedics.

So possibly YABU, sorry.

Bue Thu 31-May-12 22:36:23

Well they really are fairly easy to use. DH was the defbrillator-person at his old workplace and just did a couple of hours of training. Of course that was a hedge fund with lots of middle aged men who were likely to go into cardiac arrest from stress and too many takeways. It's certainly not a good use of money at a primary school!

StealthPolarBear Thu 31-May-12 22:36:57

Workshy I didn't know that. If that's the case then no. But if they are as hey seem, delivering a shock to the body in the hands of untrained people, then yes, is rather wait 2 mins for an ambulance

Cherriesarelovely Thu 31-May-12 22:37:04

Well, I can tell you that I have been trained to use a defib machine within a first aid course and it literally took minutes...the one we used actually spoke instructions to you.

Even though I have a heart condition myself I do see your point. My friend ran a marathon to raise money to buy a defib at her school, but it was meant to be at the disposal of the whole village community and this is in a rural setting where a friend of mine died because an ambulance did not arrive in time.


I don't think any of your questions are unreasonable though, neither do I think that you can classify this as a waste of money though.

Babylon1 Thu 31-May-12 22:37:08

I'm pleased that the facility was available for your cousin Scarletforiya and that he made a full recovery.

If it wasn't for an ambulance station being so close by, I think my view might be different - but as I said before, less than 5 mins normal driving, so less than 3 on blues and twos? It would take longer than that to get past security doors at school and into first aid cupboard etc etc....

FWIW, my cousin died of undiagnosed congenital heart defect just over 4 years ago, so I do have experience of the loss, though he wasn't a child he was 30 sad

StealthPolarBear Thu 31-May-12 22:37:56

Really, so they can't damage any internal organs?

TartyMcFarty Thu 31-May-12 22:38:39

I remember asking the head if I could train as a first aided after two students collapsed in my room within days of each other. She really discouraged it on the basis that if my skills were needed, I'd be obliged to use then, and the onus would be on me to call it right.

Can a defib be dangerous if wrongly administered?

I am ready to change my mind.

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