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Waanyarra cardiac arrest survivor saved by neighbours

April 13, 2016 | in Community News

A Waanyarra man has been reunited with the paramedics and two neighbours who helped save his life.

Waanyarra reunion

Back in December last year, Dennis Lacey and his wife Ros, were sitting on the couch watching television when without any warning, Dennis suffered a cardiac arrest.

“I didn’t have any chest pain, or any other signs, when I had the cardiac arrest,” Dennis said.

“All I remember was waking up three days later in a hospital in Melbourne.”

Ros said, while the couple were in the lounge room, she noticed Dennis suddenly shudder.

“I thought Dennis was dreaming, so I shook him and said to him, ‘wake up, you’re dreaming’,” she said.

“He shuddered again, which got my attention, so I shook him again, and then I asked him if he could hear me.”

When Dennis didn’t answer her, Ros immediately called Triple Zero and her neighbour Sue Henderson – who was quickly on scene.

Sue immediately commenced CPR and called another neighbour, Val Cunsolo to help.

Sue and Val performed effective CPR on the 66-year old, continuing until paramedics arrived at the country property.

Val said, she had done first-aid training in the past, but had never done CPR on a person who was in cardiac arrest.

“The CPR training I did certainly helped me the day Dennis collapsed. It was also good having Sue there, who has done CPR before, because I had confidence in what I was doing,” Val said.

Once paramedics arrived, they took over treating Dennis.

Dennis’ nephew, Troy Harvey, is a Melbourne-based Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic and said, this case highlights how imperative CPR is, prior to the arrival of an ambulance.

“The outcome of this case is amazing. My uncle has come home deficit free after such a short period of time,” Troy said.

“Without immediate bystander CPR, this situation would have been a lot different.”

Troy was not only thankful to Sue and Val for their incredible help on the day his uncle collapsed, but was also grateful for the work of his rural colleagues.

“As a paramedic, we respond to cardiac arrests everyday, but when it’s your own family, it’s amazing the gratitude you have for the people who respond to these kinds of cases,” Troy said.

“When it hits home like that, it’s a lot different to just doing it (CPR) day-in, day-out to complete strangers.”

Anthony McQueen, a Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) Paramedic who attended to Dennis back in December said, when he arrived on scene, Dennis was still in cardiac arrest, and had to be airlifted to Melbourne for further treatment.

“Given the circumstances, Dennis has bounced back extremely well, and a big part of that is thanks to the great CPR done by Sue and Val, prior to our arrival.”