“I see it as a compassionate thing to do”

Name: Madeleine Liljegren
Age: 30 years
What: Active as SMS-lifesaver

Madeleine Liljegren. Photo: Mattias Ahlm

“Apparently, it is considered heroic, but for me, being an SMS-lifesaver and running when the alarm is raised about a suspected cardiac arrest is an obvious choice. With simple means, you can increase the chances of a person coming back to life when they've suffered a cardiac arrest.

The first time I was put to the test was in December. I was eating dinner in a restaurant when my mobile started making a horrible, ear-splitting sound. Even though I'm a doctor, I became stressed when I realised that it was a real alarm. I said to the person I was with 'It's a cardiac arrest nearby, I need to run. I'll be back and pay for dinner after.'

I had to run about one hundred metres. I arrived before the ambulance. I checked the person's pulse and then began chest compressions. The police and the ambulance arrived shortly after. I was impressed how quick and skilled they were. A nice paramedic asked how I was doing and I said I was good.

Immediately after, I didn't think about much more than just going back and carrying on with my meal. So that's what I did, but I was still a little shaken up. It was difficult to return to normal topics of conversation.

Many people have since asked whether it isn't annoying to be on call all the time and always available, but I don't see it as a doctor thing. It is a compassionate thing to do and it feels really good to help out. If it was my father or myself who had a cardiac arrest, I would be delighted if someone was there and began CPR.

I hope that SMS-lifesavers spreads to other parts of the country. If I hadn't had the app, I would not have known that a person had suffered a cardiac arrest so close to the place where I was located. I would have just sat there eating dinner.”

As told to Karin Söderlund Leifler
First published in Swedish in the magazine Medicinsk Vetenskap, no 1, 2016.

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