Fabrice Muamba’s desperate plea to save lives after Eriksen horror collapse

Fabrice Muamba has backed the Mirror’s calls for defibrillators to become a legal requirement in all public places.

The former Bolton Wanderers midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during an FA cup quarter-final.

His heart stopped for 78 minutes but he recovered after medics administered 26 defibrillator shocks.

On Saturday fellow footballer Christian Eriksen, 29, miraculously survived an identical collapse during a Euros game.

The high-profile incident has reignited calls for the Government to make defibrillators a legal requirement in public places, including schools, sports facilities and other public buildings.

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Christian Eriksen gives a thumbs-up from his hospital bed in the first picture of the star since his collapse

Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest and never played again
Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest and never played again

The current survival rate for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK is just eight per cent.

Muamba, 33, told the Mirror: “No one realises how important a defibrillator is until they are in a situation where they need one – the difference of having one could be life or death.

“I was extremely fortunate to be surrounded by the best medics with the right equipment when I suffered my cardiac arrest.

“But I know that others are not as lucky because they don’t have access to a defibrillator quickly enough.

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The Mirror is calling for a change in the law
The Mirror is calling for a change in the law

“So I back all calls for legislation to make this life saving equipment a legal requirement for schools, workplaces and publicly accessible venues in the same way fire extinguishers are.”

Danish midfielder Eriksen collapsed in the 42nd minute of his country’s opening Euro match against Finland.

The Inter Milan star’s heart stopped beating but he was brought back to life with one defibrillator shock.

On Tuesday, the dad-of-two posted a selfie showing him smiling and giving the ‘thumbs up’ from his hospital bed.

Eriksen collapses on Saturday
Eriksen collapses on Saturday

He wrote: “Hello everyone. Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world.

“It means a lot to me and my family. I’m fine – under the circumstances.

“I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay.

“Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches.

“Play for all of Denmark. Best Christian.”

Eriksen's girlfriend Sabrina Kvist Jensen is comforted by Denmark's Simon Kjaer
Eriksen’s girlfriend Sabrina Kvist Jensen is comforted by Denmark’s Simon Kjaer

England striker Harry Kane, who played with Eriksen at Tottenham, was one of the first to respond – with a double heart emoji.

In the UK just over 30,000 people suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year, with 80 per cent of these occurring in the home.

The current survival rate is just eight per cent, which campaigners believe would be improved by greater defibrillator coverage.

The British Heart Foundation say in 2001 the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate in Eriksen’s native Denmark was four per cent.

Bolton Wanderer's manager Owen Coyle (R) stands beside Tottenham and Bolton players as Fabrice Muamba is treated after collapsing during the English FA Cup quarter-final football match against Tottenham Hotspur in 2012
Bolton Wanderer’s manager Owen Coyle (R) stands beside Tottenham and Bolton players as Fabrice Muamba is treated after collapsing during the English FA Cup quarter-final football match against Tottenham Hotspur in 2012

But a flagship CPR awareness and public access defibrillator campaign launched in 2004, saving thousands of lives.

The current rate is now closer to one in four.

Dr Andrew Deaner, a cardiologist and Spurs fan, rushed onto the pitch to help save Muamba’s life when he collapsed in March 2012.

He says there are two types of cardiac arrest, one which can be revived with a defibrillator while the other cannot.

Today's story in the Mirror
Today’s story in the Mirror

Patients who suffer the first type without timely CPR or defibrillator have a survival rate of just a couple of per cent.

But treatment within three to five minutes can bring this up to 70 or 80 percent.

Speaking on Tuesday, Dr Deaner said: “I was watching the Denmark game and it brought back memories for me.

“We saw on Saturday how a defibrillator can make the difference between life and death.

“Denmark is one of the best countries in the world for public access to defibrillators.

“What you want to see in the UK is a defibrillator on the wall within maybe 200yds wherever you are.”

Dr Deaner described the campaign as a “fantastic thing”, adding: “You can’t do harm with a defibrillator and there’s lots of evidence they do save lives.”

There are currently around 100,000 defibrillators in the UK although the locations of less than half are registered centrally.

Ingatestone and Fryerning Parish Council defibrillator training, Fryerning.
Defibrillators save lives and are easy to use

Figures show that for every minute someone is in cardiac arrest without CPR and access to a defibrillator their chance of survival drops by up to 10 per cent.

Currently schools and sports clubs have to fundraise to buy defibrillators as there is no Government support.

They cost at least £1000 plus the cost of a cabinet for installation.

Two previous bills calling for a law change failed to reach the statute books after they expired at the end of Parliamentary sessions.

Muamba made an emotional return to Bolton's Reebok Stadium in 2012
Muamba made an emotional return to Bolton’s Reebok Stadium in 2012

The Mirror is now calling for MPs to reinstate the Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill.

The Government could also choose to introduce new legislation without waiting for a private members bill.

‘The more the better’

Estelle Stephenson, Survival Programme Lead at the British Heart Foundation, said: “No training is needed at all to use a defibrillator.

“All you need to do is press the ‘on’ button and then follow the instructions on the screen.

“It will tell you to remove the patient’s clothes and show where to place the pads on their chest.

“The device won’t deliver a shock unless it detects a ‘shockable rhythm’.

“So you can’t injure someone with a defibrillator and that’s the same with CPR.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of. Use one – you could save a life.

“We support a new law.

“We just want defibrillators to be where people gather – the more the better.”

The Department for Health has been contacted for comment.

‘Should be never more than a minute away’

Mary Kelly Foy, Labour MP for City of Durham, on Tuesday sent an open letter from 51 cross-party MPs and Peers calling for the FA to buy defibrillators for grassroots clubs.

The FA currently offers discounts on purchases of life-saving equipment.

MP Foy wrote: “It is a common saying that “you’re never more than six feet away from a rat”, but it should be the case that you are never more than one minute away from a defibrillator, especially in sporting venues.”

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One for every 666 people

There are currently around 100,000 defibrillators in the UK, around one for every 666 people.

However, many are not publicly available while others are not logged on the centralised system.

The devices typically cost upwards of £1000, while replacing batteries every five years costs further £400.

Around 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen annually, with a survival rate of eight per cent.

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