Man uses fence to jump-start heartSave
By Belinda Feek
A Hamilton man has taken Kiwi ingenuity to a whole new level after using his neighbour's 8000 volt electric fence to jump-start his heart.
John Griffin suffers from atrial fibrillation [AF] - an irregular heartbeat which, if left untreated, could lead to a stroke.
One of the treatments for the condition is electric shock by defibrillator.
But when Griffin got frustrated with the emergency department during an episode, he went home and ended up using his neighbour's fence to get a shock instead.
It gave him a "decent belt", he said, and his heart started beating regularly again.
"It was right as rain ... It worked like a treat."
But medical experts have warned against Griffin's DIY method, labelling the practice "dangerous".
The 69-year-old retiree has had AF for 19 years. He says he knows when it comes on, knows when to take his medication and when to seek medical attention.
But on April 2, he lost his rag and called a senior nurse in Waikato Hospital's Emergency Department [ED] a "proper little bitch" before leaving without treatment.
Griffin said he had put up with the irregular heartbeat for about 20 hours. From 48 hours onward, a patient becomes susceptible to a stroke.
Griffin felt the atrial fibrillation wasn't going away so admitted himself to the hospital's ED.
During the first two hours, he had scans and tests, before being told it would be another six hour wait.
He didn't mind the wait, as he knew he wasn't a priority patient, but knew he had to take more medication to get him through the next six hours.
"I asked the nurse if I could go home and come back in say three hours but was refused as she said I would be wiped off the list and would have to start again."
He suggested that instead, he pop home and pick up more medication. But again she told him he would be put to the back of the queue, he claimed.
He then asked if the hospital could supply him with medication but was told no and warned again.