New Zealander uses electric fence to jump-start heart

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."

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 went home, took his medicine and, daunted by a trip to a hospital in Auckland, noticed his neighbour's fence.

Kicking off his boots, he put the back of his hand on the fence to give himself an electric shock.

He described the DIY method as feeling like he had received a "decent belt" through his body, but added it worked "straight away, virtually. I just walked away." "It gave me a decent belt and [my heart] came right."

Dr John Bonning, Waikato Hospital's clinical director, did not recommend people use an electric fence that way as it was "dangerous and ill-advised".

Counties Manukau Health stroke specialist Dr Geoff Green had never heard of somebody using an electric fence that way, but also advised against it. "So I wouldn't recommend it to anybody."

Dr Gerry Devlin, medical director at the Heart Foundation of NZ, said using an 8000 volt electric fence was "completely inappropriate" and would deliver a large bolt. "We should not be recommending people treat themselves in that way."

Original Article. New Zealand Herald.

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