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News / Ngatea Four Square’s Heart Stopping Rescue Sets A Life Saving Example

Ngatea Four Square’s Heart Stopping Rescue Sets A Life Saving Example

Ngatea Four Square’s Heart Stopping Rescue Sets A Life Saving Example

Posted March 10, 2021

Staff and management at Ngatea Four Square have proved the life saving benefit of having a defibrillator within easy reach.

Fiona Goldby was working at the Ngatea Four Square last September when she felt unwell with a tight chest.

After having her blood pressure checked at lunchtime, with it being slightly elevated, she went back to work behind the checkout. Then at about 2 pm Fiona collapsed on the floor. A heart attack had triggered a cardiac arrest.

Fiona’s workmates jumped into action with Ngatea Four Square owner Richie Saunders rushing to get the defibrillator he has in store while another worker, Jake Coleman started administering chest compressions.

Richie Saunders said they called 111 and the operator talked them through what to do.

Their actions and having a defibrillator handy are being credited with giving Fiona the chance she needed to survive what could have been a tragedy.

Richie Saunders and Jake Coleman used the defibrillator to shock Fiona’s heart three times before a local ambulance crew took over and transported her to a helicopter to be airlifted for emergency treatment in hospital.

“The team was pretty shaken up by the whole event, it was just so out of the blue – unexpected, a lot happening that year with road works, Covid and another team member passing away suddenly – they were pretty distraught,” Richie Saunders said.

Fiona not only survived to tell her story, she’s back at work at Ngatea Four Square and encouraging everyone to do a first aid course to learn CPR and how to use a portable defibrillator.

St John has released its Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Report today which shows that more needs to be done if community cardiac arrest survival rates are to be improved.

Cardiac arrest continues to be our silent killer, with ischaemic heart disease one of the highest causes of death in New Zealand each year.

Last year, St John Ambulance treated over 2,000 people for a cardiac arrest out in the community, with 31% of those surviving to hospital arrival. This survival rate is now the lowest against the five emergency services St John benchmarks against and St John Clinical Director Dr Tony Smith says more work and resources are needed if we want to save more lives.

Dr Smith says that more work also needs to be done to raise public awareness of the importance of bystander CPR and use of defibrillators.

“Bystanders can save lives by starting CPR, as early intervention can double the chance of survival. Everyone can learn CPR and using a defibrillator is simple – if you know how to use a cell phone, you can save a life.”

Use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) within 3-5 minutes of someone collapsing can increase their chance of survival by up to 44%.

An AED works by delivering a short, powerful electric shock to the heart, helping the heart to regain its natural rhythm. Modern AEDs are easy to use and come with step-by-step voice prompts so anyone can follow the correct procedure – you don’t need to be a medical professional but you could save someone’s life like Ngatea Four Square staff did.

Sarah Manley, St John Deputy Chief Executive of Community Health and Iwi Engagement, says St John is working hard to address inequities in New Zealand with free programmes in communities such as 3 Steps for Life, ASB St John in Schools, and facilitating donations of AEDs to communities and marae by donors and sponsors including St John’s key partner, ASB.

“We want to enable communities to be resilient and have the tools and support needed to make a difference.”

St John wants everyone to know the 3 Steps for Life – call (an ambulance), push (start CPR) and shock (use a defibrillator).

Photo: Ngatea Four Square owner Richie Saunders with the life saving defibrillator.