Tuesday 10 April 2018

Heart Skipped a Beat

The excellent Law and Religion UK blogs on legal implications for the fitting and use respectively of defibrillators.

This was caused by the rather odd tweet from the CofE account about where to look for wifi, post offices and defibrillators. (Please note spelling, CofE Comms).

Now, A Church Near You is a useful website. But not one I'd use if I were in a hurry for treatment for cardiac arrest. I'll be honest, if there was a decent chance of me going into cardiac arrest, I'd be looking at other methods of prolonging life than going to the correctly equipped church.  But like the church it serves, it's quirky, a bit eccentric, and will nearly give you something that is not quite what you were looking for. Unless you're Bono. In which case, no chance.

Like all SocMed it's also only as good as what is put into it. But its usability issues on tablet mean they need to fix a few glitches before you'd work too hard at that.

And of course, you get the usual C of E issue that facilities are rich in towns and scattered in the countryside. So if you're in Central London, there's a church with a defibrillator in Battersea. Not brilliant if you're actually wanting to worship at All Saints Margaret St. But you know, you can get there. But if you're in the wilds of Somerset, there's no defibrillator (or even defibrilator) in sight - you may search in vain in Seavington St Mary. St Michael and all the Angels are all the help you're gonna get at Haselbury Plucknett. And heaven help us all when the Common Market leaves Stanton Drew.

Shouldn't that be "defibrillator"?

Usability and liability issues feature highly in the Law and Religion  piece. I was really worried about the implications of someone using a defibrillator, who doesn't know a cardiac arrest from a heart attack or hay fever. But it turns out that the automatic versions are capable of distinguishing between the right and wrong kinds of heart problems. Which means you won't have the problem of Doris the Warden accidentally making Ernest's condition worse with a hastily-cobbled-together Van der Graaf generator. But does give us the image of the choirboys playing Russian Roulette with it.

Also please note that, if using an automatic defibrillator, you should remove all bodily piercings and underwired bras. The former of which did for poor Ernest. Honestly, his wife told him he should have taken that stud and chain out before going to church. He never smiled again.

But the best of Law and Religion is that it also covers the plannng implications. I look forward to the next snooty missive from a Diocesan Registrar on the subject:

"Although we are all no doubt grateful that Granny Dryden saved the life of Revd Timms, the fitting of the defibrillation device onto the North Wall, underneath the 18th Century "Mellstock Memorial", was carried out without permission. The church is requested to desist from saving any more vicars until a faculty is granted."

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.


  1. Off course fitting defibs into churches has he potential for life saving, but it also has the potential to attract even more robbers, attracted by the idea of a portable item, worth a couple of grand, which will have to be accessible to be of any use. So, along with the Collection, Church Plate, Brass Ornaments and Plaques and the Lead from the roof, can we expect to see Defibs turning up on Ebay or other sales sites, marked as used, one very respectable former owner?

  2. They already are, also the cable tester and instruction version.


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