Tourist’s life-saving donation

Kenneth Cooper, left,  hands over the donated defibrillator to David Frew, of Mar Lodge
Kenneth Cooper, left, hands over the donated defibrillator to David Frew, of Mar Lodge

A visitor who collapsed at a Deeside beauty spot has donated a defibrillator in the hope it will save other lives.

Kenneth Cooper suffered a cardiac arrest at Spittal of Glen Muick on the Balmoral estate last summer.

Kenneth Cooper with Keira McFarland and Leo Hunt

Kenneth Cooper with Keira McFarland and Leo Hunt

And it was only the quick-thinking of two park rangers, Keira McFarland and Leo Hunt, using a nearby public access defibrillator that revived him.

Mr Cooper chose Mar Lodge as another location in the area for the potentially life-saving equipment and the unveiling took place last Thursday.

The defibrillator that saved his life was donated to the Balmoral estate where it was housed at the Glen Muick visitor centre by the Sandpiper Trust, which aims to improve pre-hospital care in remote areas. After hearing about last summer’s incident, the defibrillator manufacturers offered to donate a second one to the charity of Mr Cooper’s choice.

He said: “I cannot ever properly express my gratitude to all concerned in my rescue.

“Although I cannot remember anything about it I know it was an incredible effort by the whole team, especially Keira and Leo who used their training to great effect.

“I am also indebted to Sandpiper Trust for installing the defibrillator, the National Park for training their people and the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance for a fantastically quick response and for taking me to Ninewells Hospital where their superb cardiology unit put me back together.

“My experience really does show the need for more defibrillators in remote areas and training for the people on the ground.”

Keira and Leo’s training was tested on July 14 last year when Mr Cooper collapsed outside the remote visitor centre at Spittal of Glen Muick.

Hearing cries for help from his friend, Keira ran to help and quickly realised that he was not breathing and his heart had stopped. Leo reached for the defibrillator that had been installed by the Sandpiper Trust.

Together with passers-by, the two worked quickly, performing CPR and using the defibrillator.

Balmoral staff member Sonya Hastie called 999 and due to the remote location the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance was called in, along with a road ambulance and Dr Ewen Mcleod, a local British Association of Immediate Care Scotland (BASICS) responder.

Mr Cooper was flown to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, where he spent a short time before returning home.

Keira said “It was a real team effort and that extends to all those generous people who support the two charities that provided the essential equipment we had access to.”

The public access defibrillator was donated by the Sandpiper Trust to the Queen to place on the estate.

It was sited at Glen Muick because of the high visitor numbers it attracts, the location registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), allowing their call takers to use it promptly when receiving an out-of–hospital cardiac arrest call.

Keri Fickling, Sandpiper wildcat project manager, said “The quick-thinking of these two volunteers to carry out CPR and use the defibrillator has without a doubt been crucial in saving a man’s life.

“This is a fantastic example of the chain of survival in action.”

“This story also highlights the vital role of the Sandpiper Trust, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance and BASICS Scotland.

“Without their work, along with the Scottish Ambulance Service, Kenneth’s story could be very different indeed.”