survival

Outback First Aid – Our Story

20160723_144631sNewcastle’s Robert Watson had done his Medilife First Aid Training over many years when he was employed in the steel industry. Now retired, he and his wife Coralie continue to do the refresher training, “just in case” they are ever called on to help in an emergency situation.  Their spiral bound  First Aid for Life course books are kept with a first aid kit in the boot of their car.

 

P1290923xsIn July, during a 6,000 km road trip through inland Queensland, Coralie developed some chest pains one afternoon on the road. It was a few hours after lunch, and she assumed it was indigestion. However the pain became worse, and worse. They were 1 hour out from Emerald, and it was a further 2 hours to their overnight stop… in a tiny town which almost certainly didn’t have a hospital. The pain was severe enough that Coralie thought it might have been a heart attack, but – from memory – Robert asked, “Do you have a crushing feeling on your chest, and are you sweating a lot?” The answer was, “No”, and Coralie added, “and I don’t have pain radiating to my left arm!” But they pulled off the road and dug out their first aid book.

The signs and symptoms  listed included the three they remembered, plus Anxiety, Nausea, Shortness of breath and Pale/grey skin colour.

On that basis, they agreed that there was no immediate need to panic or get upset, and they continued on to Emerald Hospital Emergency Department. Coralie was wired up to their machines and it was quickly determined that she was not having a heart attack, so that was good news. Further tests suggested that she had had a particularly severe bout of reflux, coupled with dehydration. Over the course of 3 hours she was attended to by the doctors and nurses, who all reinforced that going to see them was the sensible thing to do, and they were always happier to release people than to have to admit them with something serious.

The travel plans were changed, and they stayed in Emerald for the night … in a motel directly opposite the hospital. “Just in case!” added Robert.

Thank you Robert and Coralie for sharing your experience.

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What is SCA?

Heart Attack Man iStock_000009631138Medium[1]What is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) causes the heart’s normal heart rhythm to suddenly become chaotic. The heart can no longer pump the blood effectively and the victim collapses, stops breathing, becomes unresponsive, and has no detectable pulse. SCA can strike anyone, anytime. Children, teenagers, athletes, old people — can all have SCAs. Although the risk of SCA increases with age and in people with heart problems, a large percentage of the victims are people with no known risk factors.

Is SCA the same as a heart attack?

No. Both the heart attack (myocardial infarction) and a sudden cardiac arrest have to do with the heart, but they are different problems. SCA is an electrical problem; a heart attack is a “plumbing” problem. Sometimes a heart attack, which may not be fatal in itself, can trigger a sudden cardiac arrest.

aedIs SCA treatable?

Defibrillation is the only treatment proven to restore a normal heart rhythm. When used on a victim of SCA, the automated external defibrillator (AED) can be used to administer a lifesaving electric shock that restores the heart’s rhythm to normal. AEDs are designed to allow non-medical personnel to save lives.  

What are the stats on SCA in Australia?

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death, with an estimated 15,000 people suffering a cardiac arrest in Australia every year. Between 6% and 13% of cardiac arrest victims in Australia will survive more than one year past the event. This dismal survival rate has remained unchanged for over three decades, however during the past 50 years the fundamentals of early recognition and activation, early CPR, early defibrillation, and early access to emergency medical care have saved hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Receiving early CPR can increase the odds of surviving a cardiac arrest by a factor of five, according to studies. Certain types of cardiac arrest only respond effectively to defibrillation and if delivered quickly, the survival rate increases by 75%. Success declines at a rate of 10% with each minute delayed.

All workplaces, schools, colleges, community buildings are encouraged to have an AED onsite.

Medilife has a large range of AED’s available, view online here..

Information and Stats sourced from : ARCNSW and Defibtech