Next month will see a conference taking place in Leicester to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) in both teenagers and young adults. Sitting down with Pukaar News before next month’s University of Leicester Hospital conference for UK-wide healthcare professionals, Dr Mike Ferguson, a consultant in Adult Health Care at University Hospital Leicester said that the conferences main aim was to raise greater awareness amongst the general public about SADS, what to look out for, and what they can do about it.
In countries such as America and Italy, early detection of heart conditions, combined with good CPR skills among the general public along with the presence of defibrillator machines located in public areas, has led to a dramatically reduction in death rates.
Dr Ferguson said: “We are very much slow off the mark when it comes to this, but we can catch up”.
He stated that thanks to the work of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, schools in the Leicestershire area would have access to up to 60 defibrillators in the next three months to improve CPR training.
However, he also stressed that the upcoming conference is just the first step to increasing awareness of SADS, and that it is now more common than cot death. If successful the conference could become an annual event and prompt efforts from health bodies to make a real united effort to combat the disease.
Ferguson added to the sense of urgency that the conference has in fighting the condition by highlighting the great loss to families that SADS can bring.
“It is an absolutely catastrophic thing to have a fit, healthy looking person and then the next day they are no longer with you.”
The conference will be launched by ex-rugby international and the Patron of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, Martin Johnson. It follows soon after the first ever SADS Awareness Week (30th September – 4th October), organised by the Memorial Trust to mark the anniversary of Joe’s death.
Joe died suddenly last October while out jogging aged 14-years-old, having previously shown no signs of ill health. Twelve people under the age of 35 die every week in the UK in similar circumstances.
Steve Humphries, who created the Memorial Trust in his son’s memory, stated: “Many deaths like Joe’s could be prevented with better awareness among healthcare staff and more CPR training for the public. We are sadly one of the many families who have lost someone to SADS. We want to raise awareness and improve research, as well as encourage people to learn these life-saving first aid skills.”
The conference will take place on Monday 4th November and is being held in partnership with the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, to learn more about the conference visit www.jhmt.org.uk/sads-awareness-conference