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Heart Health

Cardiac Arrest in a Supermarket at One@Kent Ridge

Cardiac Arrest in a Supermarket at One@Kent Ridge


The importance of AED during an Emergency

A sudden cardiac arrest may cause a person to lose consciousness within a mere 15 seconds and stop breathing within a minute. In such situations, the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) may help save a life. Dr. Tan Ze Ying, Senior Resident, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, University Medicine Cluster, National University Hospital (NUH) recounts how she and other staff came to the rescue of an unwell shopper.

As a senior resident in critical care medicine, it is my responsibility to attend to ‘code blue’ which is indicative of a patient requiring resuscitation or in need of immediate medical attention.

The ‘Code Blue’ Alert

I recalled a vivid incident where my lunch was interrupted by the familiar ‘code blue’ alert. I immediately sprinted towards the incident site, at the FairPrice Supermarket one floor above. As I neared the scene, I saw a Patient Service Associate (PSA) grabbing the AED from the wall and dashing towards the site, confirming my deepest fear that the collapse was real. 


I arrived to witness a middle-aged man gasping for air on the ground. Medical Offi­cers, Dr. Jolene Kiew and Dr. Wesley Yeung, as well as Dr. Kuhan Venugopal, Senior Resident, Emergency Medicine Department (EMD), were rendering assistance. Dr. Yuan Yew Sen, an Ophthalmology Senior Resident, had also cleared the ground to make room for resuscitation.

Quick Rescue by the Medical Team

CardiacArrest I performed a pulse check and we commenced cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. While I obtained a quick medical history from the man’s companion, we attached the AED and the first shock was delivered for ventricular tachycardia1. The nurses then arrived with the necessary medical equipment and I took over organising the resuscitation and securing IV access, while Dr. Venugopal swiftly contacted the EMD team.

Thankfully, the patient came to after the ­first shock and with coordinated efforts, was sent to the EMD for further treatment. He has since recovered well.

By Dr. Tan Ze Ying

1 A very fast heart rhythm that begins in the ventricles, which are the two lower chambers of the heart.