Lab42 launches cardiac arrest awareness training

3rd November 2021 Featured

Lab42, Sumo Leamington and Secret Mode took part in a ‘show and tell’ on cardiac arrest and the use of defibrillators, with Lab42 purchasing a defibrillator for its office in Leamington.   

Junior Level Designer, Benjamin Culff, was just 17 when he suffered a cardiac arrest at the restaurant he worked in at the time. Thanks to quick thinking, training and the essential installation of a defibrillator on the site, Ben is now able to tell the tale of his experience and has brought his experience to his role at Lab42. 

Ben with the Lab42 defibrillator
Ben with the Lab42 defibrillator

“I’ve been at Lab42 since May after a two-year undergrad and a one-year Masters at Birmingham City University”, says Ben, “and a fun fact about me is that I am actually part Iron Man because of an iron plate in my chest!” 

The plate Ben is referring to is an ICD [implantable cardioverter-defibrillator] – a pacemaker and defibrillator which kicks into action if his heart drops out of ‘normal’ range. This was fitted after he suffered a cardiac arrest at aged 17. 

“I was working as a waiter and was on a normal morning shift, I’d worked a double the day before and was headed upstairs to get some glasses when I collapsed. My colleague called for help and the chefs and management team began CPR, rang for an ambulance and grabbed the defibrillator which was in reception. 

“The first shock didn’t change anything so he had to wait another two minutes to try again. That caused me to draw breath but I instantly went full Hulk.” said Ben. “When you’ve had a cardiac arrest, the adrenaline surge can sometimes bring out your superhuman strength and you become heavily agitated. As soon as I was shocked the second time, it took six paramedics to hold me down and I ripped out all my cannulas.”, explained Ben. 

“Because I was only 17, it set off major alarm bells so I had a two ambulances, a fast response unit and two air ambulances sent for me. Once I was stable, an air ambulance transferred me to Stoke on Trent hospital where I spent two days in the ICU. In memory, I lost the day it happened and the two days after – I don’t remember anything that happened during my cardiac arrest.” 

Ben's experience has seen him get involved with local cardiac arrest charities and events.
Ben's experience has seen him get involved with local cardiac arrest charities and events.

Ben’s experience inspired Lab42 to organise the cardiac arrest show and tell and to purchase a defibrillator. The security of being surrounded by colleagues who are confident with how to use a defibrillator is a huge comfort to Ben, he said: “Knowing we have a defib has had such a positive impact on my work life and gives me peace of mind. The games industry can be stressful at times and stress can be a contributing factor so it’s great to have that security for everyone – it doesn’t matter how old you are or what’s going on in your life, a cardiac arrest could happen to anyone.” 

He’s hopeful that his story will inspire more companies to buy a defib and undergo the training and believes it will be commonplace in workplaces and public buildings moving forward. “I think it shows a company’s work ethic and commitment to its people if they have a defib and training in place. It’s something I think should be a necessity – just like having a fire extinguisher is.” 

The show and tell was conducted remotely by Keith Dawson, a retired EMS who volunteers for Tamworth Have A Heart – a charity Ben is also involved with. The team were advised on the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack, how to deal with both and best practice when it comes to using a defibrillator.  

“It’s so important for me to be a young advocate and to raise awareness of cardiac arrests in young people. There’s a common misconception that you’re only likely to suffer a cardiac arrest if you’re older or unwell but at the time of mine, I was just a normal 17-year-old. It really can happen to anyone.” 

Ed BlincoeStudio Director at Lab42, said: “We’re extremely proud to support Ben in raising awareness of the importance of defibrillators in the workplace. 

“Our goal is to create a workplace in which everyone can feel safe and reassured and are always listening to our people as to what they’d like to see us deliver.” 

Ben was recently featured on BBC Midlands talking about the defibrillator at Lab42, and you can find out more about his incredible story here

As well as raising crucial awareness, Lab42 are also busy working on some incredibly exciting projects and growing its fantastic team. All information about current opportunities can be found on the Careers Page