CPR training saves a life in Port Lincoln

CPR: Troy Turner, Mel Dohnt, David Nisbet, Wayne Smith, Toni Ford and Graeme Dyke reunited to discuss the day on the Port Lincoln Golf Course. Absent: Paramedics Jeannie Veares and Melanie O'Donnell and Chris Cottrell and Rex Bichard.
CPR: Troy Turner, Mel Dohnt, David Nisbet, Wayne Smith, Toni Ford and Graeme Dyke reunited to discuss the day on the Port Lincoln Golf Course. Absent: Paramedics Jeannie Veares and Melanie O'Donnell and Chris Cottrell and Rex Bichard.

CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training may not be at the front of your mind, but a recent cardiac arrest in Port Lincoln has acted as a reminder for the need for training and how it can save a life.

There were no signs or symptoms before Wayne Smith suffered an idiopathic cardiac arrest on the Port Lincoln Golf Course, but the spontaneous medical episode has lead him to encourage others to learn CPR.

“Mel did not hesitate, she was driving by and stopped and jumped the fence to help,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for the immediate help of those around me performing CPR the paramedics’ job would have been a lot harder and I may not have survived.”

Graeme Dyke, Chris Cottrell and Rex Bichard were golfing with Mr Smith at the time and Mel Dohnt spotted the scene from the road and pulled over to help.

They performed CPR and kept Mr Smith alive until paramedics arrived, but if it they had not performed CPR it could have been a different story.

According to the SA Ambulance Service sudden cardiac arrest affects more than 1800 people each year in South Australia with only one in 10 surviving.

SA Ambulance paramedic Toni Ford, who treated Mr Smith with her four colleagues, said the early actions of bystanders was key in the chain of survival. 

“It’s all about early CPR, effective compression and easy access to an AED,” she said.

“If you lift the lid of an AED it tells you exactly what to do, you do not need any training.”

An AED was installed at the golf club two weeks before, but was not used as no one was confident to operate it.

Ms Ford recognised why people were apprehensive to use an AED, but said the message they wanted to get out was once you opened the lid it talked you through all the steps and provided diagrams.

“If you use it on someone who does not need it, it will not shock them, that’s the automatic part...it registers if it is needed,” she said.

Ms Ford encouraged everyone to contact their local SA Ambulance for free CPR30 training, a 30-minute training session on CPR and an AED demonstration.

A free community information night on CPR and AED use is being held at the Port Lincoln Golf Club on February 20 to help learn effective CPR and demonstrate the use of an AED.

SA Ambulance can direct people to a registered AED once triple 000 is called but do not have a public list available to show where each one is located, however St John Ambulance do have an online public register of AEDs.