President Simon welcomed members and many guests from sister Rotary clubs throughout Auckland to hear our guest speaker, Dr John “Doc” Mayhew, recently appointed as ambassador to the Rotary District 9920 Heart Savers programme aimed at increasing the number of automatic heart defibrillators (AED’s) available in the community.
“Doc” Mayhew is the current doctor to the Warriors NFL team and was All Blacks medico for 15 years on the sideline for 131 test matches and over 200 All Black games. He described his personal experience in 2016 of surviving a cardiac arrest thanks to an AED during a gym workout and noted that without receiving medical attention there is only a 5-10% of surviving.
There are currently some 6,000 AED’s in the community and that number needs to be doubled which is where the Rotary Heart Savers initiative has an important role to play. 
“The great thing is, anyone can use an AED – you don’t need to be medically qualified,” he says. “You just need to know where your nearest one is and get it to your patient as quickly as possible.” He says the scary thing is sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time, with no warning. “I was a pretty fit and healthy guy, running once a week and regularly working out at the gym. You just can’t predict who it will happen to.” “There’s also a myth that AEDs are only needed for older people but sudden cardiac arrests do not discriminate.” Currently in NZ, sudden cardiac arrest fatalities are four times the road accident toll and affect over 100 children each year.
“Doc” Mayhew provide some interesting insight into modern sports medicine particularly in the professional era as sportsmen become bigger, fitter and stronger but also noted that they are no less affected by common medical issues than any other sector of the community.
Mike Mander, the Managing Director of HeartSafe, an AED specialist with extensive emergency service background, demonstrated the ease of use of an AED and noted that the automated instructions from the AED were designed to be understandable by 11 year olds.
Thanks to our speakers were provided by District Governor Roger Harvey who also provided some detail on the Heart Savers initiative with each individual district club being challenged to fund an AED and find a suitable location for it in their community.