Neurosurgeon and London’s Air Ambulance Doctor, Mr Mark Wilson, and technical developers, Ali Ghorbangholi and Ali Haddad, have developed the GoodSAM app, which uses GPRS technology to alert trained first responders to emergencies within their immediate reach. With over 1500 first responders currently signed up as Good Samaritans across the UK (nearly 1000 in London), the creators are now appealing to members of the public to become ‘alerters’.
Through the GoodSAM app, trained first responders (who may be off duty) including doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, police officers and medical students can register to be alerted to incidents in their surrounding area and could be on scene within minutes. With a built-in Defibrilocator function, app users can also easily identify public access defibrillators.
Mr Mark Wilson said, “If a patient has a cardiac arrest or a traumatic head injury, it is the first few minutes after the incident that determine the outcome – life, death or long-term brain injury. But in this time frame, we could never employ enough paramedics to be on scene in seconds – hence we need to alert people with the skills in the surrounding few hundred metres that can be.
“GoodSAM can revolutionise our ability to get to the patient immediately and improve outcomes. Harnessing the community for the benefit of the community. Effectively what the app does is enable someone to shout for help, really loudly – even through walls – so the anaesthetist in the bookshop knows that the man in the coffee shop next door is having a cardiac arrest.
“Opening an airway and administering basic life support can save lives if done quickly enough and all around us are people who have these life-saving skills and could be put to good use in an emergency. These good Samaritans can provide vital assistance until such time as the emergency services arrive on scene.”
In a life threatening emergency anyone who has downloaded the GoodSAM Alerter app can simply open it and press ‘Call for Help’. The app identifies their geographical location and as soon as the call is confirmed as a medical emergency the app does two things simultaneously – dials 999 to request the emergency services and sends a group alert to the nearest GoodSAM Responders. When a GoodSAM Responder receives an alert, using the app they can either accept the request for help or reject it if they are unavailable. If they reject the request, the next nearest responder is alerted.
The caller is advised that a group of responders has been alerted and notifies them when a GoodSAM Responder is on their way.
The app guides the GoodSAM Responder to the exact location of the caller and identifies where the nearest defibrillator is located. A built in messaging service means the caller and the responder can communicate on route if required.
Once on scene a GoodSAM responder can reassure the patient and begin performing basic first aid and life support as required before handing over the emergency services.
Mark Wilson added, “The GoodSAM App is a free tool to help the public get emergency assistance from the local community. There is so much life-saving support, immediately available, if we can just tap into it. Whether a trained first aider, someone with a medical condition or just a Good Samaritan that one day might be in the right place at the right time to give the alert it’s well worth having the GoodSAM app on your phone.”
All Good Samaritans are verified manually. GoodSAM has a global reach and has already started rolling out in other countries including in Ireland and Australia.