A life saved by quick thinking and CPR
TURNING up to pub trivia night last week may just have saved Tracee Houlahan's life.
When the Bundaberg woman suffered a heart attack during the popular Wednesday night quiz at the Old Bundy Tavern, staff with CPR skills reacted quickly and gave her life-saving CPR until paramedics arrived.
Acting hotel manager Chris Simons, 30, said in a quirk of fate he was on a rostered day off when someone called in sick, leaving him to fill in.
Ms Houlahan's family and friends will forever be grateful he went into work that night.
Mr Simons said the crowd had just sat down to order their meals when a group of regulars noticed something was wrong with their friend.
"I was out the back and I heard the peoples voices so came out to see what was the matter," he said.
"There was a lady slumped over in her chair.
"Her partner and friends were trying to wake her but she kept losing consciousness and her complexion was changing."
Mr Simons said the patrons were very shaken up and that's when he and another employee, Haley Myers, stepped in and moved the woman into recovery position.
"Her breaths became very shallow and that's when we realised it was serious and called the ambulance," he said.
"Everyone then left the room and we started CPR along with Ms Houlahan's partner, (Tim Stephens).
"At the time we thought the ambulance took a long time to arrive, but I reviewed the footage and they arrived fast and took over."
Mr Stephens said he was grateful people knew CPR and were able to assist in saving her life before the ambulance arrived.
"Those guys did a wonderful job without them the outcome would have been totally different," Mr Stephens said.
"Timing is everything and without their fast actions i don't think it would have ended the same."
Mr Stephens said his 50-year-old partner was born with congenital heart disease had needed a number of open heart surgeries, and had a pacemaker.
"We are not new to heart problems, but there were no warning signs that day," he said.
"We were sitting side-by-side and I turned around to chat to the person beside me for less than 10 seconds before I realised she had collapsed on the table.
"The staff, Chris and Haley, jumped in straight away and helped perform CPR."
Mr Stephens said it was only when he was sitting outside the hospital when he realised how big a part the staff had played on the evening.
"I was sitting there and thought, wow, these guys saved my partner's life and I don't even know their names," he said.
"They even went to the effort to protect her privacy and surrounded her by screens.
"People might not realise how difficult it can be to perform CPR for a long time - two to three minutes doesn't seem that long but I was grateful I wasn't alone to do it."
Mr Simons said he was trained in first aid but had never had to use it before.
"It makes you realise how important it is to know CPR and provide it if needed," he said.
Ms Houlahan remains in hospital as she wait to be transferred to Brisbane to receive a new pacemaker.
Bundaberg Ambulance encourage community to learn CPR
QUEENSLAND Ambulance clinical support officer Grant Blair said it was vital community members learnt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) because you just don't know when it could be needed.
"In recent weeks we have had a number of cases of cardiac arrest and because of the actions of bystanders the chances of survival were increased," Mr Blair said.
"At the Old Bundy the CPR which was performed was vital.
"Early quality CPR is important - hard and fast until paramedics arrive is the key as it keeps a shockable rhythm.
"It makes a difference in life or death."
Critical care paramedic Shannon Bourke, who was first on scene that night, said the actions of the bystanders helped save the woman's life.
"We arrived with people waving us down and showing us where to go," Ms Bourke said.
"Some people were giving CPR and others had set up privacy screens and given the group the space needed.
"Their actions with CPR directly contributed to outcome of the woman surviving."
Mr Blair said more than 75% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happened at home and quite often family members were there first.
"There are CPR awareness courses run through the local ambulance committee and are done so by a gold coin donation," he said.
For information on CPR courses go to www.ambulance.qld.gov.au/cprawareness