Pharmacist gives to save lives


The Morpeth Pharmacy. Image: Google
The Morpeth Pharmacy. Image: Google

A Hunter Valley pharmacist has dug deep into his own pockets to donate a defibrillator to the local public school

Both Peter Edmonds, the principal at Morpeth Public School, and Michael White, the new owner of the Morpeth Pharmacy, understand how important access to a defibrillator can be.

Mr Edmonds told local newspaper the Maitland Mercury that the school often has large gatherings attended by people of all ages, and that having access to the life-saving device would put him at ease. The school’s P&C had been discussing the need for the device for some time, but it was financially out of reach.

“All of the staff here have been trained in CPR but what we didn’t have was a defibrillator,” Mr Edmonds told reporter Belinda-Jane Davis.

“We hope we will never have to use it, but if we do, then it could help to save someone’s life.”

Meanwhile Michael White moved into Morpeth in December 2017 after buying the town’s pharmacy – and set out to get involved in his new community.

When he became aware of the school’s need for a defibrillator, he decided to act as it’s a cause which matters to him.

“I had a school friend who died on the soccer pitch – he had a heart attack,” he told the AJP. “He was 40 years old, and there was no defibrillator on the side of the pitch.

“You put defibrillators into ambulances, why not schools?”

Aware that the school did not have a lot of money to spare, Mr White simply bought the $3000 device for them.

“I’m not a wealthy man, I’m trying to save up to buy a house, but sometimes the needs of others exceed my needs,” he explained. “You’ve got a lot of people doing it tough here, especially the farmers with the lack of rain.

“I thought I’d create a bit of goodwill. I wanted to let them know that I was going to reinvest some of those funds in this community.”

Mr White also gave each person at the school a voucher to spend at the pharmacy.

“I think there’s a niche in the market for a service-based model,” he says. “I’m getting heavily involved in the community through things like talking at the Men’s Shed as well and donating bandages.

“And people are just swarming back to the pharmacy. My script count’s up 60% since taking over.

“It wasn’t easy to buy this pharmacy, but I love it. I love being a pharmacist. I work six days a week and I’d work seven if my wife would let me. And the response by the community has been sensational, there’s so much positivity.”

Mr White says he also has plans for a significant purchase at the pharmacy, too.

“I might try to buy a defibrillator for the pharmacy as well,” he says.

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