The Mirror News

AED, CPR know-how and fast action save Brian’s life 

• Welshpool Hotel manager Brian Evans, second from left with his partner, Leanne Stockdale and their son Brock, thanks three of the Ambulance Victoria paramedics who responded to a Triple Zero (000) call after Mr Evans suffered a heart attack  behind the bar of the pub in April 2023, AV Mirboo North Branch Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) Paramedic Ross Salathiel, AV Foster Branch Acting Team Manager Tiana Daniels, and AV Yarram Branch Paramedic Wyatt Kilgower.

 A WELSHPOOL pub manager is thanking his family, fast-acting hotel patrons and Ambulance Victoria (AV) paramedics for saving his life when he suffered a cardiac arrest at work.

 Brian Evans, 57, was doing paperwork while coughing and feeling as though he had “a bit of a cold” when he unexpectedly slumped off his seat behind the bar at the Welshpool Hotel Motel on Saturday April 1, 2023.

 His partner, Leanne Stockdale, and a couple of customers in the public bar instantly rushed to Brian’s aid, applying the pub’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), while another person rang Triple Zero (000).

Mr Evans has since made a full recovery and is more than glad that he has been able to express his gratitude in person to those who rallied around him in the pub that day.

“I’m still surprised I’m here,” he said, with a wry smile.

On Thursday August 3, Mr Evans was also reunited with three of the AV Paramedics who had attended him four months ago; AV Foster Branch Acting Team Manager Tiana Daniels, Mirboo North-based Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) Paramedic Ross Salathiel, and Yarram-based Paramedic Wyatt Kilgower.

Ms Stockdale said she had been  “talking to some bar staff and all of a sudden I heard a loud bang, and I saw  Brian had fallen off his chair onto the floor.

“I thought he must have hit his head, but he hadn’t; he was just unconscious on the ground and his face was grey,” she said.

“As soon as I reached him, I knew something wasn’t right, and when I flipped him over I couldn’t feel his pulse, and as soon as I said, ‘he’s got no pulse’, there were more people lining up to do CPR to try to help.

“It was strange, because usually the pub is quiet on a Saturday afternoon but that day, it must have been kismet, because there quite a few people here,” Ms Stockdale said.

“We knew we had to get the defibrillator from the wall outside the pub because Brian didn’t have a heartbeat,” Leanne said.

 “We’ve had to pull the AED out once or twice before because we’ve had a sick patron in the pub, but we’ve never had to use it.

“I was terrified, because it was Brian down there on the floor,” she said. 

“I’d had done some training with the AED when the Australian Hotels Association first supplied it to the pub, and you know your CPR and first aid, but when it’s a loved one, it all goes from your head.”

The bystanders delivered three shocks with the defibrillator and managed to achieve the return of spontaneous circulation by the time the AV Paramedics arrived 18 minutes after the Triple Zero (000) call was made.

Ms Stockdale said the instructions on the AED about how to place the pads on the patient were “pretty good” and that the “machine analyses the condition of the patient and advises when a shock is required.

“The AED tells you to keep going with the CPR compressions and whether you need to speed up or slow down the rate of the compressions,” she said.

“t’s not easy to fit six paramedics behind the bar but that’s where they all were, working on Brian, and our staff and patrons had to take two doors off their hinges to allow the ambulance trolley in and out.

“Brian had started to regain consciousness and he was asking about our son Brock, who had been in the pub with us when his dad had the heart attack, by the time he was being taken to hospital,” Ms Stockdale said.

Mr Evans was carried by ambulance to the Arthur Sutherland Recreation Reserve before being airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he spent five days before being able to return home, fitted with a defibrillator device under his skin.

“I want to say a big thank you to Leanne and everybody else who helped,” he said.

“They still don’t know what caused it but I’m feeling fine again – I’m back to normal.

“It’s a reminder that we should all learn CPR.”

AV Foster Branch Acting Team Manager Ms Daniels said the actions of the bystanders were heroic.

“Minutes matter in cardiac arrests and the time while paramedics are on their way is crucial for bystanders to act,” she said.

“When a patient receives CPR and an AED shock, or multiple shocks as in this case, from an AED before paramedics arrive, their chance of survival increases by more than 70 per cent.

“If Brian’s partner and other bystanders hadn’t acted so quickly, it could have been a very different outcome.”

Ms Daniels is encouraging community members to sign up to the GoodSAM app to give locals the best chance of survival.

“GoodSAM is a life-saving smartphone app that connects Victorians in cardiac arrest with nearby volunteers who are willing to start CPR and to use an AED while paramedics are on their way,” she said.

“GoodSAM is linked to the Triple Zero communications centre, so as soon as an ambulance is dispatched, a GoodSAM alert will notify responders in the area. The app directs responders to the patient as well as the nearest registered AED,” Ms Daniels said.

“You don’t need to have a first aid qualification to join GoodSAM. If you know CPR, it’s as simple as signing up to save a life.”

Ms Stockdale said it’s incredible to have Brian back home and well.

“It was the worst day of my life but now seeing him recover, it’s the best,” she said.

“Everybody that helped that day isn’t just a friend, they’re family now.”

Mr Evans and Ms Stockdale along with Brock, took over running the Welshpool pub in June 2022, and now the family is moving on to their next venture, managing the hotel in Grong Grong in the Riverina district of New South Wales.

They will be taking a special gift with them; a defibrillator presented to Mr Evans by AED Authority of Dandenong South, the firm that supplies these life-saving machines to the Australian Hotels Association for distribution to its member pubs.

“We’ve made lifelong friends here in Welshpool,” Mr Evans said, “and I’ve already decided to donate the AED to the Grong Grong pub, so it’s there ready to help someone like me when they need it the most.

“We know some Welshpool locals are already planning a road trip to come up and visit us, and we want everyone we’ve met in and through the Welshpool pub to know they’ll always be made welcome.”


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