26 September 2023

Smartphone app to help save lives

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NSW Ambulance is looking to save more lives through a partnership with the smartphone app GoodSAM to give people in cardia arrest a greater chance of survival.

Announced by the Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, the app alerts trained responders to someone nearby in cardiac arrest, so CPR can be started before paramedics arrived.

“Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in the home, so if a trained passer-by can provide first aid before an ambulance arrives, it could be lifesaving,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Many of the trained Good Samaritans using GoodSAM around the world, and also here in Australia, range from people with basic CPR skills through to doctors,” he said.

“If those responders are sitting in a café and someone goes into cardiac arrest nearby, this app will help them navigate their way to the scene, ahead of paramedics arriving.”

Mr Hazzard said the four-year partnership would to see the app integrated with ambulance dispatch and a registry set up to map nearby defibrillators.

He said the defibrillators may be in the back of a trained responder’s car or fixed to a wall in a building, so the public registry would allow the community to log a device’s location that could then be accessed by a responder, to deliver lifesaving defibrillation earlier.

Executive Director of Clinical Systems at NSW Ambulance, Senior Assistant Commissioner Clare Beech said sudden cardiac arrest could happen to anyone from young children to seniors.

“NSW Ambulance attended over 10,000 cardiac arrests in the 2021-22 financial year,” Asst. Commissioner Beech said.

“Many of those cases didn’t get defibrillation or CPR from people close by prior to paramedics arriving,” she said.

“When someone is in cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR or defibrillation decreases their chance of survival by 10 per cent.”

Asst. Commissioner Beech said NSW Ambulance always sent the closest available paramedic in an emergency but the GoodSAM app would allow for rapid intervention by the community, “which could save your life”.

She said registration for responders would begin in a phased approach over the coming months.

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