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Girl, 12, saves heart-attack dad

Youngster had learned how to do heart massage and first aid at school

A 12-year-old girl has been hailed after saving her father’s life when he suffered a heart attack – using heart massage that she learned last year at school.

Dana, a pupil in Saint-Saturnin, Sarthe, used the first aid that she learned at primary school when her father fell at home. She told newspaper Le Maine that it was an instinctive reaction.

“When he fell he hit his head and was bleeding. When I saw that he was all blue I took his pulse and started heart massage at the same time as calling my mother. While waiting for help to arrive I continued the massage and spoke to him.”

She admitted that she had panicked at first but said that she remembered her class last year. First aid classes have been part of primary school teaching since 2008.

Samu doctor Christophe Savio told the paper that she had certainly saved her father’s life. “The time between the attack and getting medical aid is vital. Each minute counts and the longer the heart damage goes on the more difficult it is to recover.”

He added that outside hospitals the survival rates for heart attacks were as low as 5% if no first aid was available – and said that just 7% of French people knew what to do in an emergency.

If you are not trained in heart massage, for immediate first aid if you see someone having a heart attack - with vice-like pain across the chest and spreading to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach, get them on the floor in a half-sitting position with their knees bent and head and shoulders supported. Do not let them lie down.

Call the pompiers on 18 or Samu on 15

For further details (in English): British Red Cross Everyday first aid

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