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Bart Eggink survived a cardiac arrest: ‘Time is of the essence, every second counts’

20 January 2017

It could have been a lot worse. At the moment 54 year old Bart Eggink from Epe suffered a cardiac arrest in June 2014, he was playing a game of tennis with his basketball friends, including doubles partner Klaas Dijkstra. Various tennis players on the court knew CPR and within 30 seconds, the club AED was at the scene of the incident. A single shock from the defibrillator got his heart going again. This goes to show: time is of the essence. Bart and Klaas tell their story.


B: I remember everything, even the tennis score. My buddies from the basketball club, All Stars Epe – including my doubles partner Klaas Dijkstra – saw how I suddenly collapsed backwards right before serving. Klaas saw my greyish-blue colour, heard me gasp (a yawning, gurgling reaction from a body that is dying, ed.) and knew there was trouble.


K: When the gasping ceased, I started resuscitation, thirty and two. But I couldn’t get the air in, probably because of muscle tension. The tennis teacher and trained resuscitator Jan Kruitbos arrived and someone had got the AED. Jan continued resuscitation, while I cleared Bart’s chest. Then I used the AED to give him a shock. Bart was ‘back’ immediately. He wanted to get up right away and continue playing tennis. But we went ahead and stopped him from doing that.


B: I suffered a cardiac arrest. It’s true, and I believe it. But it doesn’t feel that way. The light just went out all of a sudden. When I regained consciousness, they yelled ‘stay down’. I wanted to ask ‘why?’, because I didn’t feel anything wrong. No cramps, nothing. I had bitten on my tongue hard, though. And later I felt a pain in my neck. Only during the ten days in the hospital did I start to realise how serious it was. I have lasting damage in the form of atrial fibrillation, possibly aggravated by the placement of a stent. I’ve also undergone five cardioversions and take daily medication.


B: When I collapsed, my 16-year-old daughter Laureen was playing tennis on the adjoining court. Her scream was harrowing to the other tennis players, Klaas told me. The mental impact on her was considerably larger than it was on me. But thankfully she is doing a lot better now. It was also very upsetting for wife Corry. She arrived with the ambulance and asked me in a panic: ‘what did you do now?’. When I’m home a little later than planned, she always makes me call. She worries more easily.”

First responders

K: It was my second resuscitation since 1986. Resuscitating a good friend has a strong effect on you. I didn’t sleep well the first night. Only when I visited Bart in the hospital two days later, did I calm down. I am convinced that the AED saved Bart’s life and I’m sure that manual CPR would not have been enough.

AED and resuscitation training

B: Prins Willem Alexander gymnasium offered an AED and resuscitation course for all sports associations last year. My wife and one of my daughters took part in it. We also bought an AED. I realise that you depend on the equipment and that every second counts. After what happened to me, I wanted a working AED close by. And I’m registering it for public use, too.


B: Having an AED near doesn’t mean all is well. You can’t operate it when you’re the one suffering a cardiac arrest. It’s the people around you who have to do it. If they hadn’t acted as quickly as they did in my case, things would have turned out very different. I am very happy with the people around me.

  • "The city of Epe has provided public AEDs in every strategic location in the municipality since 2012. Something that wasn’t necessary at the tennis club; they’ve had a defibrillator here for years. The municipality recently purchased sixteen new AEDs with protective casings, bringing the municipal total to 21. Around 250 first responders have also signed up so far. "