Article | Bar owner wants defibrillators brought out of hiding after man dies

Bar owner wants defibrillators brought out of hiding after man dies

A person who died after going into cardiac arrest may have had a better chance of survival had someone run across the road to the pub.

Kerry Simeon

Kerry Simeon

Crowded House Bar and Eatery co-owner Kerry Simeon wants people to know there is a defibrillator available at the bar and believes more businesses should also have them.

New Plymouth Crowded House Bar and Eatery co-owner Kerry Simeon has a defibrillator on his Devon St East premises and is speaking out after an elderly man collapsed on the street outside Aromas Coffee Lounge on Monday.

“I was a little frustrated why nobody came to us when this person collapsed,” said the publican, who had previously let neighbouring businesses know it was available in an emergency.

Kerry Simeon is disappointed nobody reached out to borrow his bar’s defibrillator when a person suffered a cardiac arrest across the road last week.

“I could have gone over there and helped before the ambulance arrived.”


Without knowing the exact circumstances of the medical incident, Simeon believed being initially treated with a defibrillator could have made all the difference between life and death.

The 82-year-old was transported to Taranaki Base Hospital in a critical condition and later died.

“It’s left me feeling a bit down,” Simeon said.

An automated external defibrillator, or AED machine, is used in cases of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias which lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

The portable machine, which has a step-by-step voice prompt, retails for around $3000 but can also be rented through various suppliers, including New Zealand Red Cross.

Aromas Coffee Lounge manager Mandy Berry was not aware the man had collapsed until an ambulance arrived at the scene.

She later learned people had been scrambling around looking for a defibrillator.

“I knew Kerry had one and I wish I had known they were looking for one because I would have gone straight to Crowded House.”

Simeon is now calling for more businesses to invest in the medical device and for better promotion of where they are available.

According to a website which allows people to register a location of the machine, there are 8800 registered across the country, and New Plymouth has 202 of Taranaki’s 294.

Crowded House’s defibrillator was one of the few registered on the city’s main street.

Simeon said it was purchased about one year ago after three occasions where patrons had suffered a cardiac arrest on the premises — one of which was fatal.

It was yet to be used but all of the bar staff had been trained to operate it.

Simeon said there needed to be more knowledge within the community of where to access the machines and he would be calling into neighbouring stores to remind them of his.

“We got this for Crowded but we’re a worldwide village these days.”

A guide to find AEDs in New Zealand is available at or by downloading the app “AED Locations” on your smartphone from the App Store or Google Play.​

-Tara Shaskey, April 30 2018

Originally published at

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