Paramedics save Rocky man from fatal heart attack
JANUARY 19 was just another day for Rockhampton truck salesman John Austin.
He was helping his brother move furniture in their mother's Park Avenue home when he suffered an unexpected and near fatal heart attack.
The 60-year-old father of nurse Jack, 24, mum-to-be Jilly, 20, and bull rider Lawson, 18, began to feel dizzy and started sweating profusely. He knew something was wrong.
"I laid down in the car and when my brother came out to ask how I was going, I gave him my phone and told him to ring 000,” Mr Austin said.
"I remembered the ads on TV, that every minute counts. The best result is a false alarm.
"I felt myself going downhill and I had no control over it. I had never experienced anything like that before.
"I thought it could be a heart attack, I had a little niggle in my chest when I laid down, like indigestion, but it wasn't massive pain.
"I'm lucky the paramedics turned up when they did.”
Call centre operator Siobhan Moore received the call that saved Mr Austin's life.
"His brother gave such good information,” she said.
"Even if it's just a feeling, call 000.
"We would rather go out and assess someone not in need of our assistance than not receive a call for someone who does.
"Every minute counts. Don't wait until the morning.”
When paramedics Kelsey Williams and Hamed Mogaddasi arrived, they knew Mr Austin was in trouble.
"He was grey, sweaty and wasn't looking very good,” Ms Williams said.
"Normally when people have chest pains that aren't too serious, they are chatty.
"However Mr Austin wasn't really answering any questions without being prompted.”
Mr Mogaddasi, who was mentoring Ms Williams soon confirmed a heart attack.
"We started treatment based on QAS protocol and did the check list for cardiac reperfusion,” he said.
"Very shortly after our senior officer Josh Keatey was on scene with us... and during the full treatment and transporting, he went into cardiac arrest.
"We managed to bring him back a few times. I'm happy to see him alive and well today.”
During transportation to Rockhampton Base Hospital, Mr Austin suffered four cardiac arrests, one of which was at the hospital's door.
Despite foggy recollections of that day, Mr Austin remembers hearing that he had no pulse.
"Then I heard them say 'he's got a pulse' and I thought 'geez, that's good',” he said.
By Mr Austin's side throughout the whole ordeal was his wife, Gay.
"(The ambos) went slowly to the hospital and had to take their time. Hamed had to administer a drug every two minutes and it had to be a calm journey,” she said.
"When he went into his first cardiac arrest, I'd never seen that before. I thought 'oh my God'.
"Hamed dropped the bed back down and started working on him and all of a sudden John was shocked and the cannula flew out of his arm. I jumped out of my seat trying to help.”
Minutes later, Mr Austin had another cardiac arrest, and then another.
"The paramedics were just unbelievable,” Mrs Austin said.
"They stopped the ambulance and Kelsey came flying in - it was a code two to the hospital. Hamed and Josh were both working on John.
"The Flying Doctors arrived at the ICU at 8.30pm and they got him ready and flew him to Brisbane that day.”
Two days later, Mr Austin had a stent put in his heart to treat his blocked right coronary artery.
"The doctors said 90 per cent of people don't survive that sort of heart attack,” Mrs Austin said.
"The doctor said if he wasn't where he was, if the ambulance hadn't arrived so quickly and done what they did, he wouldn't have survived.”
New ambulance officer, Ms Williams was just a few months into her new job at Rockhampton Ambulance Services after graduating from CQUniversity in 2017.
Mr Keatey commended the team for its "amazing” work.
"They did a cracker of a job and were under the pump. They worked really quickly,” he said.
"The whole system worked really well. From communication all the way down to cardiac intense, it was fantastic.
"The big lesson is critical thinking, thinking on the spot, which they learn at uni..”
Mr and Mrs Austin went to Rocky Ambulance on Friday to thank Ms Moore , her supervisor Lea Kettle and the paramedics for their actions on that fateful day.
"They saved his life,” Mrs Austin said.