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Mother and paramedics save son after cardiac arrest

August 30, 2023 | in News

Strathfieldsaye mother Carrie Morgan wished her 22-year-old son goodnight on 2 June like she does every other evening.

She never imaged that on that occasion she would later be performing CPR on her child as he fought for his life.

As Carrie went off to bed, she cheekily reminded Jamie not to stay awake too long playing his video games.

The next thing she remembered was waking to strange noises coming from his room. Checking on him once more, she was shocked to find him experiencing a medical episode. She yelled out to her 20-year-old daughter, Tabitha, to call Triple Zero (000). The pair was told Jamie was in cardiac arrest.

She pulled Jamie onto the floor and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Carrie worked tirelessly on her son until Ambulance Victoria paramedics Duncan Lever, Troy Allan, Chloe Bruce and Kym Mensforth arrived.

Bendigo paramedics Duncan Lever, Troy Allan, mother Carrie, patient Jamie, sister Tabitha and paramedics Chloe Bruce and Kym Mensforth are reunited in happier circumstances after Jamie’s cardiac arrest.

Duncan Lever said on arrival they found Carrie performing the life-saving act.

“We got the call late into our nightshift. It was surprising to see such a young and healthy person in cardiac arrest,” he said.

“Once we arrived we were able to defibrillate right away, get Jamie’s pulse back and transport to hospital, where they continued to resuscitate.”

Jamie was taken to Bendigo Health in a critical condition.

“It wasn’t looking good. At the hospital we were told he wouldn’t make it,” Carrie recalls.

“Jamie’s heart stopped 11 times that day. It’s all a horrific blur.”

Remarkably though, a team of specialists from Alfred Health heard about the case and Jamie was able to be placed on a portable heart-lung device known as an Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation machine (ECMO).

Jamie spent five days attached to the ECMO machine before being taken off to breathe by himself – a special milestone to celebrate on his 23rd birthday.

Once transferred to the Alfred, he remained on life support for a week and spent time in the intensive care unit (ICU) and intensive cardiac ward. He has since had a stent inserted in his heart and is now on regular heart medication.

“He has amazed everyone with his miraculous recovery. Those four paramedics gave him a fighting chance and helped save his life,” Carrie said.

“They went above and beyond. Even at the hospital—even though we were their last call of the shift and they were meant to finish up—they stayed with us, kept us informed and checked on us.

“I thank them, from the bottom of my heart, for saving my son’s life that awful day. Paramedics are heroes.”

Carrie and Jamie were recently reunited in happier circumstances with the paramedics who came to his aid.

Duncan said the case showed how important the Chain of Survival was in the event of a cardiac arrest.

“Carrie was extremely brave to perform CPR. Her work was vital as she was able to buy time for Jamie until we could defibrillate which absolutely increased his chance of survival,” he said.

“It’s so rewarding to see members of our community thriving after such an experience. Jamie pulling through against the odds is extraordinary. He’s a fighter!”

Matt McCrohan, AV Director Regional and Clinical Operations Loddon Mallee, said Jamie’s case was an example of the effectiveness of early CPR.

“Cardiac arrest happens when a person’s heart suddenly stops beating and it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere,” he said.

“Minutes matter and the sooner a person receives cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation from an AED, the better their chances of survival.”


Every day, about 20 Victorians suffer a cardiac arrest and only one in 10 survive. There are three simple steps to save someone’s life: Call (Call Triple 000), Push (Perform CPR) and Shock (use an AED if available).