A SNOOKER player’s life was saved by two bar workers who used a defibrillator which had been fitted just a week earlier.
The St Mary’s Social and Recreation Club’s snooker team in Horwich were playing a match on Thursday night when one of the visiting players, Les Openshaw, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.
Stephen Fisher, a bartender at the club in in Bosworth Street, set the defibrillator up with the help of customers and telephoned manager Susan Stewart, who had been trained to use the machine.
Ms Stewart, aged 42, of Arkwright Street, Horwich, said: “It was a very frightening experience. I was sitting at home in my pyjamas when I got the call saying a man had collapsed and I needed to get down there.
“I just told them to get the defibrillator from behind the bar and that it would tell them exactly what to do.
”When I arrived the defibrillator was just starting to deliver shocks so I knew his heart had stopped..
“Then I started doing CPR — I didn’t even hesitate.
“I thought about what I had been taught and just kept on until the ambulance arrived.
“It was terrifying but I was so glad I had done the training — otherwise I don’t think I would have known what to do.”
Mr Openshaw was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital where he was put into an induced coma. The 86-year-old, who was playing for The Railway Club, in Great Lever, is now understood to be making a recovery in hospital.
Paramedics told Ms Stewart and Mr Fisher that had they not resuscitated the man, he would have died that night at the club.
Mr Fisher, aged 44, from Singleton Avenue in Farnworth, said: “I think your instincts kick in when something like that happens. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous at the time.
“All I could do was try to stay calm as I spoke to the operator and fetched the defibrillator from behind the bar. I dread to think what could have happened had the machine not been fitted eight days before.”
Ms Stewart said that every pub or social club like St Mary’s should have a defibrillator.
She added: “I couldn’t believe it. We’d only had it about a week and I was the only one who had had the training.
“But because it gives such clear instructions, Stephen was able to use it. What an amazing machine. I think every public place should have one.
“And as for Stephen, he was brilliant. Considering he had not done the training, it was amazing what he did. We’re all just hoping the man pulls through.”
David McNally, of North West Ambulance Service, said: “An incident like this emphasises just how important it is to have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on hand.
“AEDs are so simple to use and will only deliver a shock to the patient if necessary.”
In February last year, The Bolton News launched its Every School Leaver a Life Saver campaign.
The campaign promotes the teaching of emergency life saving skills in schools and for defibrillators to be placed in as many public places as possible.