St John and the Ciy Defibrillator Project

St John and the City are grateful to Michael Pinkerton who has become a Project Donor.

Read Michael's story:


Get on your bike, Mike

;">If it had happened an hour earlier, it would have been in front of my four-year-old son, Joel. It was his birthday two days earlier and we were testing his brand new Spiderman bike along Cramond promenade.

As it was, I died in front of a man and his (sick) dog. Together with a group of exceptional ladies more used to saving the lives of stricken animals.

I had suffered a cardiac arrest (caused by undiagnosed cardiomyopathy) in Oak Tree Vets while buying some kidney-friendly cat food for the now dearly-departed Chewie. 

But for the quick-thinking of vet Henrietta Linnemann, her colleagues and, some time later, the first responder – keeping me going with CPR for 20 minutes until the ambulance arrived – I would have been, and would still be, a-goner. I owe them my life.

It took four shocks from the paramedics to get me back. If had been an older man, they would have stopped at three. Incidentally, there were no white lights, virgins or pearly gates. Indeed, I don’t remember a single thing about that morning. Thank goodness.

But those close to me certainly do – not least my wife Morven who had just found out we were expecting our second child (Mae) a few weeks earlier. She had no idea where I’d disappeared to and only found out that evening when I policeman came to the door. What has he done now..!?

You don’t need me to tell you how lucky I was. The odds of my surviving, my GP told me, were 6%, or, for the gamblers amongst you, around 17–1 (I’ve read elsewhere only one in 20 survive). Fair to say, then, it was a long shot. And there had been no symptoms; no warning.

That was two years ago. My heart is now working as it should be and, according to my cardiologist, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. But, just in case, I have an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) implanted into my chest in case of any future dramas. I should say that the care I have had from the NHS both at the time and since has been exceptional.

We visited Oak Tree on the first anniversary last year and they had already installed a defibrillator, put themselves through first aid refresher courses and one of the vets was running a half-marathon for the British Heart Foundation.

It got me thinking that it was high time that I got on my bike and did some fundraising to help others who end up flat on their back as I did – but who may not be lucky enough to have a guardian angel by their side.

That’s why, amongst other things, I am Pedalling for Scotland (from Glasgow to Edinburgh) on 10 September. I’m doing this in support of the St John and the City Defibrillator Project, launched last year to install life-saving defibrillators in strategic sites across Edinburgh.

I was in the right place at the right time. Please help me to ensure more people can be as lucky as I was. Or, at the very least, turn the odds a little more in their favour.

Thank you.