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Family, paramedics and firefighters give Thornbury dad a second chance at life

February 11, 2022 | in Community News

Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedic Andrea Wyatt (left) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic Lauren Love (right) with Lazarus Hadjistamatis.

A man who suffered a cardiac arrest at his cousin’s wedding has thanked his family, paramedics and firefighters for saving his life.

Lazarus (Laz) Hadjistamatis had spent the night on the dancefloor with his wife Jo and two young daughters before the festivities wrapped up just after midnight in May 2021.

The 46-year-old suddenly started feeling unwell, before collapsing to the floor in cardiac arrest.

Jo immediately called Triple Zero (000) as hundreds of wedding guests were making their way out of the venue.Laz’s uncle Con and cousin James stepped in to immediately perform effective chest compressions followed by firefighters who completed one round of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before paramedics arrived.

Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic Lauren Love was first on scene and said Jo’s quick thinking, calling 000 and excellent CPR by Con and James helped save Laz’s life.

“I really commend Con and James who quickly recognised that CPR needed to be done and immediately started excellent chest compressions,” Lauren said.

“Pre-hospital care in Victoria is world class, but it all starts when a bystander steps in and starts compressions. Once someone starts CPR, the chances of survival for a cardiac arrest doubles.”

A cardiac arrest occurs when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating.

Seconds count in a cardiac arrest, and it has been internationally proven that bystander intervention makes the difference between life and death.

“Early CPR and defibrillation are critical steps that help save the lives of cardiac arrest patients,” Lauren said.

“Anyone can save a life in three simple steps.  Call, Push, Shock: Call 000, Push Hard, Push Fast on the middle of the chest, shock using an automated external defibrillator (AED)”.

All smiles at the happy reunion.

Lauren and Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedic Andrea Wyatt took over Laz’s medical care and applied a defibrillator, shocking Laz once and successfully restarting his heart.

“This was a fantastic outcome for Laz, and really and truly, is a good example of the positive difference that bystander CPR and applying a defibrillator can make – it’s amazing,” Lauren said.

Laz was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital where he had a stent inserted into one of his coronary arteries. 

“I was fit before my cardiac arrest, I fit-trained everyday and never had any issues with my health, so this came out of the blue,” Laz said.

Laz, Jo and their daughters are eternally grateful to Laz’s uncle and cousin, as well as the first responders – because of their quick actions, Laz has not suffered any deficits as a result of his cardiac arrest.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Laz’s lifesavers who helped to bring Laz back to us – it was such a magical time meeting our heroes,” Jo said.

“For a moment there, our family was completely broken – but we got Laz back and for that we will be eternally grateful – those who stepped in to help will be in our hearts forever.”