Phone app helps woman save cardiac arrest victim

Phone app helps woman save cardiac arrest victim
LIFELINE: Madam Michelle Lim meeting Mr Ken Gong for the first time yesterday since his cardiac arrest last month.
PHOTO: The New Paper

A woman who teaches cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) helped save the life of a cardiac arrest victim after being alerted to him by a phone app.

On Jan 3, Madam Michelle Lim's Sunday breakfast at her regular coffee shop was interrupted by a loud beep.

It was an alarm from the myResponder app, showing her that someone had suffered a cardiac arrest just a block away, at Block 287, Bishan Street 24.

The 50-year-old lecturer at the Institute of Health Sciences left her breakfast and her sister-in-law at the coffee shop and ran to help the victim.

When she got there, she gave the man chest compressions until the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) team arrived and revived him with an automated external defibrillator (AED).

The SCDF yesterday reunited Madam Lim and Mr Ken Gong, the 45-year-old civil servant she had helped, at a press conference to release its yearly statistics.

The myResponder app, a collaboration between SCDF and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, alerts qualified volunteers to nearby cardiac arrest cases within 400m of their location and the nearest available AED.

Madam Lim told The New Paper that as she approached the victim that day, "I heard someone shouting 'Help! Does someone know CPR?'"

That person was Mr Wong Er Kai, a bystander who was performing chest compressions on Mr Gong.

"When I arrived, I saw the victim was trying to gasp for air and his eyes were wide open. He didn't have a pulse," said Madam Lim.

Realising that Mr Wong was unsure of what to do, she took over and performed CPR continuously until paramedics arrived.

"It was physically demanding for me. After about five minutes, my shirt was drenched in sweat," said Madam Lim.

"But I didn't care how exhausting it was, I just wanted to save him."

When SCDF paramedics arrived at about 9.40am, they administered two shocks to Mr Gong and he was successfully resuscitated.

"As soon as they could feel his pulse, I was relieved," said Madam Lim.

"I didn't even realise that there were minor cuts on my knees from kneeling."

Mr Gong was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and was discharged six days later.

At the press conference, he said: "I remember making my way to the park for a jog. The next thing I knew, I was in hospital."


It was Mr Gong's first cardiac arrest.

"I didn't know what happened. I can't even remember if I had started jogging," he said.

Mr Gong expressed his gratitude to those who helped him that day, including Madam Lim and Mr Wong.

He urged members of the public to download the app and register themselves as community first responders.

"I want to pay it forward. I have signed up on myResponder so that I can help others like how they have helped me," he said.

SCDF latest statistics: More seniors calling for help

There were more calls to the Singapore Civil Defence Force emergency ambulance hotline last year.

Nearly two in five of these cases involved the elderly. (See graphic.)

The total number of fire calls to the SCDF decreased last year, with a drop in fire incidents in non-residential premises from that of 2014.

Although the number of fires in homes saw a marginal increase, the number of deaths was halved.

Percentage of responses under 11 minutes

2014: 83.1

2015: 84.9

Up 1.8 percentage points

Vehicle fires

2014: 233

2015: 199

Down 14.6 per cent

Fire fatalities

2014: 8

2015: 4

Down 50 per cent


On June 9 last year, Australian Ian Johnson, 74, was invited by his business partner, Mr Tang Hui Jen, director of Survey Instruments Services, to stay at his two-storey house at 6A, Parry Avenue, near Yio Chu Kang Road, before a flight to Pekanbaru together.

That night, Mr Tang saw Mr Johnson set up some lithium polymer batteries to be charged overnight in the living room on the first storey.

Following a coroner's inquiry, it was revealed that the batteries could have caused the fire that destroyed the house and killed Mr Johnson and Mr Tang's wife, Madam Angeline Tan Poh Chu, 64.


GEYLANG: Two Bangladeshi workers died from smoke inhalation.
Lianhe Zaobao

At about 4am on April 3 last year, a fire broke out at a flat at 86A, Lorong 6 Geylang, injuring three foreign workers and killing two.

State Coroner Marvin Bay said in his findings that Mr Mamun Abdullah All, 20, and Mr Hosen Ali, 22, died from smoke inhalation after their flat, that had been illegally partitioned into 12 rooms and housed 32 other foreign workers, caught fire.

When Singapore Civil Defence Force and police officers arrived, 26 occupants had already fled the building via the main entrance. The residents were so desperate to escape the fire that some jumped out of the second-storey unit.

This article was first published on Feb 19, 2016.
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