Thursday 28th April 2011
Calls for defibrillators in all schools after death
A Waterford principal has launched a campaign to provide defibrillators to all schools after her seven-year old niece died of sudden cardiac arrest on a school trip last year.
Becky Whelan of Crehena National School in Waterford collapsed in an activity centre in Waterford last June. She was brought to Waterford Regional Hospital but did not recover.
It was later discovered Becky suffered for a genetic disorder known as Long QT Syndrome, which causes abnormalities in the hearts’ electrical system.
Beck’ys aunt Breda Fitzgerald is principal of the nearby Newtown Upper National School. Together with Becky’s mother Bridget Anne Whelan, Ms. Fitzgerald has launched a campaign to provide all schools with defibrillators in conjunction with an Irish company called HeartSafety Solutions.
“We set out raising awareness about equipping local schools with defibrillators,” Ms Fitzgerald told delegates at the INTO Conference in Sligo yesterday. “We are working with a company that will provide a defibrillator and training to schools in exchange for 250 old mobile phones. Six schools in our area have already got defibrillators through this campaign. We want to spread the message to other schools.” HeartSafety Solutions is a Dublin-based manufacturer of defibrillators and first aid equipment. The company runs a schools’ programme called Fones4Life through which schools can exchange used mobile phones for defibrillators.