The now 80-year-old Henny ten Broeke and his wife Alie from Varsseveld, Gelderland, celebrated on November 19 their 60th wedding anniversary. On that day Mr. Ten Broeke thought about his sudden cardiac, one and a half years ago, which he had survived successfully. He was resuscitated by fellow citizends Emil Leemreize and Gerard Heersink.
The couple Ten Broeke went for a little bike ride on the morning of March 5, 2013. During the cycling felt Ten Broeke not fit at all. In Idinkbos near their home he felt really bad. Son Charles was called and he came to get his parents by car. After lunch Ten Broeke also went to the scheduled meeting of the neighborhood association, but at the same day it went wrong. Ten Broeke fell into the hall and his wife called 112.
“At about half past nine in the evening I got a call for a resuscitation,” says Emil Leemreize, volunteer at HeartsafeLiving. “I live near our ambulance station and left on the bike almost simultaneously with the ambulance. We also arrived at the house of the family Ten Broeke at the same time.”
While the paramedics were administering the victim oxygen and made all the equipment ready, Emil took over resuscitation of son Charles. Soon, Emil got assistance of fellow volunteer Gerard Heersink. When the second ambulance arrived, Ten Broeke was administered an electric shock. After resuscitation, this proved sufficient to trigger the heart of the 70-year-old Henny again. He was quickly taken to the hospital in Doetinchem.
“In the ambulance I became conscious,” says Ten Broeke. “But I didn’t realize what was happening.” A week after the cardiac arrest Ten Broeke had a surgery: he got three diversions. “Now I’m fine. I can do everything again. We can go for a ride again. I have a mild brain damage from the incident. But from the bottom of my heart I say: this couldn’t have end better.” Perhaps his wife suffers more than he does. She says: “When he isn’t close for a minute, I tremble every strange noise.”
This was Emil’s third CPR performance, but the first with a successful outcome. It made an impression. The next day Emil walked along the house and saw son Charles there whom told him his father was okay. “I loved it that Emil came by then,” says Ms. Ten Broeke. What Emil strikes was the excellent turnout of volunteers of HeartsafeLiving in Varsseveld at all three resuscitation incidents in which he was involved.
As a first aid instructor and member of the Rapid Deployable Group for Medical Assistance (SIGMA) of the Dutch Red Cross Gerard has broad experience in neighborly assistance: “I have learned to look like a professional rescuer. You do what you have been taught and if the patient is in the ambulance, your work is done. Then you go away and you don’t look back. I heard afterwards that our resuscitation was successful. That gave me a huge boost. I believe that everyone should be able to resuscitate, it should be a civic duty.”
In response to this resuscitation Emil has championed his employer Rabobank to subscribe AEDs at HeartsafeLiving. “They need to be available 24/7, so you’ll have to purchase an outdoor cabinet as a company. Both Rabobank Graafschap-Zuid and Rabobank Achterhoek-Oost already made their equipment available for HeartsafeLiving. To companies that aim to incorporate social responsibility I like to say: Make your AED available 24/7 for public use.”