Scot who beat brain cancer invents life-saving audio device


A SCOT who beat brain cancer has launched a life-saving invention for those suffering from epilepsy.

Sam Docherty, 62, a college lecturer from Eddleston, Peeblesshire, was diagnosed with epilepsy after having neurosurgery on a brain tumour in 2005.

This month he launched the “Press Don’t Panic” audio button, which is designed to advise anyone who tries to offer assistance in the event of a seizure.

It can also be used by anyone with long term medical conditions like diabetes, asthma and heart problems.

The button allows information to be recorded and stored by the wearer in any language, which can be played back repeatedly.

The playback can be initiated by either the wearers themselves or by those trying to help.

Mr Docherty said: “I thought to myself ‘What can I do if I suddenly feel the onset of a seizure, or one starts before I can alert someone? How can I advise anyone who may wish to offer assistance of my condition and the most appropriate action?’

“There appeared to only be a few alternatives, such as a small card kept in a pocket or a handbag, or a medallion or wrist bracelet.

“But each of these has their own limitations.

“The audio button was a product of necessity.

“There was nothing else out there which would convey personalised information about my condition, and how to help me in an emergency; both audibly and instantly.”

The device is worn on the outer layer of clothing and has been design to clip on to pockets, belts and bags.

Mr Docherty, a former health service educationalist who once worked with the World Health Organisation, has created the company PDP Audio Alerts Ltd from his home and hopes to take his invention to a wider circle of people at risk.

Sam Docherty

He said: “I truly believe that Press Don’t Panic can bring other people the same peace of mind it has brought to me and those that care about me.”

The Stevenson College lecturer has spent four-years designing and developing the button, incorporating a high-spec sound chip, loud enough to grab the attention of passers-by.

Lesslie Young, chief executive of Epilepsy Scotland, said: “Epilepsy Scotland believes that the Press Don’t Panic audio button is an exciting idea.

“The public can confidently assist people with health conditions by pressing the button and listening to the recorded message.

“This simple device may give greater confidence to anyone with epilepsy and other conditions.

“It also offers reassurance to their families, carers and friends that others can step in without fear if a seizure or fit occurs.

“The green first aid logo on the alarm is universally recognisable to passers-by and agencies dealing with the public.

“No one needs training to use the alarm – just push the button and hear how to help.”

The audio button costs £34 and until 26 March – which is Purple Day, for global epilepsy awareness – the company will donate £3 for each device sold to be split between the National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy and dietary treatment charity Matthew’s Friends.

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