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Former Spurs team doctor calls for support of defibrillator campaign
The former Spurs team doctor has thrown his weight behind a campaign to put life saving equipment in public buildings after his son almost died.
Dr Zafar Iqbal, who was the team doctor for Tottenham Hotspur, is pushing for the Government to make it mandatory to fit automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs) in all schools and public places.
He has compared the life-saving machines with fire extinguishers, which are present in all public buildings.
The doctor's support for the campaign comes after his three-year-old son, Zacariya, had a cardiac arrest at the family’s Enfield home in December last year while Dr Iqbal was away with his current team, Liverpool FC.
Zacariya was born with a heart condition that can cause a rhythm abnormality. As a result the family has a defibrillator in the house, which Dr Iqbal’s wife was able to use it to save his life.
He said: “I was abroad at the time at a game with the team and I got the call from my wife telling me he’d had a heart attack.
“I was so worried because we had the game that night, but the team were great and let me travel home.
“The plane journey was horrible because last time I spoke to my wife she said he was drowsy so I was worried something could happen to him while I was on the plane.
“Thankfully, when I got to the hospital he was fine. If we didn’t have a defibrillator in the house and if it were not for the quick actions of my wife, there is a high chance he would not have survived.”
Dr Iqbal has given his support to an online petition calling for AEDs to be put in schools and public places.
A person’s chance of survival following a cardiac arrest outside a hospital is only five per cent if no defibrillator is present, however if an AED is nearby and used there is a 50 per cent chance of survival.
He said: “People don’t question there being fire extinguishers in schools so it should not be any different with AEDs.
“I would urge everyone to get behind this campaign as having a defibrillator available can really mean the difference between life and death.”
The Oliver King Foundation currently has more than 80,000 signatures on the parliament petition website but needs 100,000 in order for the issue to be debated by MPs.
Those who want to sign the petition can do by going to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29399