Bags packed, Keith and Kathryn, both 52, were excited to be flying out to Queensland for a week’s holiday early the next morning.
Family members Maddison and Ken, had just arrived at the family home to house-sit for the next week. Keith was calmly preparing dinner in the kitchen, while the rest of the family relaxed.
“We’d just had a great weekend with friends staying over, and apart from Keith complaining of mild indigestion earlier that day, we really had little warning of what was to come next,” said Kathryn.
“Keith had literally just said to me, ‘Kat, how do you want the meat carved?’ I left the room, and suddenly there was a thump on the floor. I ran back, he was turning grey, he was unresponsive.”
Keith had recently enjoyed a long break from work and was busy setting up a new business venture when the collapse occurred. He’d had some heart trouble in the past, but was on medication and under the close care of a cardiologist.
“We keep a close eye on my heart after what happened three years ago, but with all the preventative measures in place and a healthy lifestyle, I really thought I was doing okay,” said Keith.
With Keith turning greyer by the second, Kathryn screamed for someone to call Triple Zero, while she turned him on his side to clear his airways.
Ken sprang into action. Under instructions from the Triple Zero (000) call-taker, he told the family, “Start CPR right now.”
While Kathryn remembers being very emotional, she started mouth-to-mouth while Ken did chest compressions. Maddison ran to make sure the gates were open to the acreage property for the ambulance to gain access.
“As we worked frantically to save Keith, suddenly a stranger ran in the front door! I didn’t know what to make of it. He said he was an off-duty paramedic with GoodSAM and was here to help. He helped Ken move Keith into the lounge room, where there was more room to work on him. It happened so fast,” said Kathryn.
The stranger was off-duty flight paramedic, Darren Murphy. Darren had just signed up with Ambulance Victoria’s pilot of the new GoodSAM app just two weeks earlier.
Moments later, Keith let out a groan.
“I remember thinking, oh my god he’s with us,” said Kathryn.
“The ambulance arrived and they were amazing. As for Darren, well he was absolutely dripping with sweat by that time. I just thanked him and shook hands with him. I was still in shock.”
“If it wasn’t for Ken, who acted so quickly and calmly in such a dramatic situation, and then Darren rushing in like he did – I just hate to think what might have happened,” said Keith.
“To know that this technology is now up and running in Victoria, and that we were the first to benefit from it – well that’s just incredible. I feel very, very lucky.”