26 Aug 2014

London’s Air Ambulance doctor calls on Good Samaritans to deliver basic life support
GoodSAM app set to revolutionise immediate medical response

  • GoodSAM app could help save lives
  • App uses GPRS technology to alert first responders to nearby emergencies
  • App Creators are now appealing to the public to become ‘alerters’
  • With built-in ‘Defibrilocator’ function, app users can find nearest public access defibrillators
  • It is the first few minutes after the incident that determine the outcome — life, death, or long-term brain injury
  • London’s Air Ambulance charity is assisting the app creators to recruit Good Samaritans and Alerters.

Neurosurgeon and London’s Air Ambulance Doctor, Mr Mark Wilson, and technical developers, Ali Ghorbangholi and Ali Haddad, have developed the GoodSAM app which uses GPRS technology to alert trained first responders to emergencies within their immediate reach. With over 3,000 first responders currently signed up as Good Samaritans across the UK (over1,000 in London), the creators are appealing to members of the public to become ‘alerters’

In an emergency, seconds count. Opening an airway and basic life-support can improve outcomes and even save lives if done quickly enough. On average there are 5,000 medical emergencies each day in London and across the city there are thousands of trained individuals who could provide immediate assistance while waiting for the emergency services, including London Ambulance Service, to arrive.

Through the GoodSAM app, trained first responders (who may be off duty) including doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, police officers and medical students can register to be alerted to incidents in their surrounding area and could be on scene within minutes. With a built-in Defibrilocator function, app users can also easily identify public access defibrillators.

Mr Mark Wilson said: “If a patient has a cardiac arrest or a traumatic head injury, it is the first few minutes after the incident that determine the outcome — life, death, or long-term brain injury. But in this time frame, we could never employ enough paramedics to be on scene in seconds —hence we need to alert people with the skills in the surrounding few hundred metres that can be.

“GoodSAM can revolutionise our ability to get to the patient immediately and improve outcomes. Harnessing the community for the benefit of the community. Effectively what the app does is enable someone to shout for help, really loudly — even through walls - so the anaesthetist in the book shop knows that the man in the coffee shop next door is having a cardiac arrest.

“Opening an airway and administering basic life support can save lives if done quickly enough and all around us are people who have these life-saving skills and could be put to good use in an emergency. These good Samaritans can provide vital assistance until such time as the emergency services arrive on scene.”

London’s Air Ambulance is assisting GoodSAM to recruit Good Samaritans and alerters in London. The charity delivers an advanced trauma team to the some of the most critically injured people in London. Its clinicians understand as well as anyone the need for early intervention within minutes of an injury occurring to improve patient outcomes.

GoodSAM has a global reach and has already started rolling out in other countries including in Ireland and Australia.

How the GoodSAM app works


In a life threatening emergency anyone who has downloaded the GoodSAM Alerter app can simply open it and press ‘Call for Help’. The app identifies their geographical location and as soon as the call is confirmed as a medical emergency the app does two things simultaneously; dials 999 to request the emergency services and sends a group alert to the nearest GoodSAM Responders.

When a GoodSAM Responder receives an alert, using the app they can either accept the request for help or reject it if they are unavailable. If they reject the request, the next nearest responder is alerted.

The caller is advised that a group of responders has been alerted and notifies them when a GoodSAM Responder is on their way.

The app guides the GoodSAM Responder to the exact location of the caller and identifies where the nearest defibrillator is located. A built in messaging service means the caller and the responder can communicate on route if required.

Once on scene a GoodSAM responder can reassure the patient and begin performing basic first aid and life support as required before handing over the emergency services.

All Good Samaritans are verified manually.


When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by 10%*.

A defibrillator is a machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest and there are a growing number of defibrillators available in public places for first aiders to use in an emergency.

The GoodSAM app can pinpoint the nearest defibrillator based on known information. Whether a GoodSAM Responder or Alerter, uses of the app can add to this register making it the most comprehensive and reliable source of defibrillator information.

GoodSAM users can do this by taking photos of any defibrillators they locate and upload them to the app, noting their type, condition and most importantly their accessibility.

Doctor Mark Wilson added:“At London’s Air Ambulance, we’re constantly looking for ways to provide patients with innovative and effective pre-hospital care.

“The GoodSAM App is a free tool to help the public get emergency assistance from the local community. There is so much life-saving support, immediately available, if we can just tap into it.

“Whether a trained first aider, someone with a medical condition or just a Good Samaritan that one day might be in the right place at the right time to give the alert it’s well worth having the GoodSAM app on your phone”.

*British Heart Foundation



GoodSAM is a community of Good Samaritans, happy to assist if they are the closest person to an emergency. Many are off duty doctors, nurses, paramedics and other members of the emergency services. They are trained in first aid and may have additional skills. They can maintain an airway, help stop bleeding and if necessary help perform lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

How to download the GoodSAM app

Both the GoodSam Alerter and Responder apps are available to download for Android and iOS from ITunes and GooglePlay.


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