Video recounts Alpine emergency
Mount Beauty Medical Centre to feature in CPR video
AMBULANCE Victoria is using a video about an extraordinary team effort by Mount Beauty Medical Centre staff to encourage more people to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation after the technique saved the life of a young South Australian boy at Falls Creek.
Eleven-year-old Oliver Hopkins was staying with his parents and sister at a Falls Creek alpine lodge when his heart stopped in the early hours of July 27.
His father, Peter, awoke about 4am to hear Oliver struggling.
He found his son was not breathing.
He immediately started CPR while his wife, Kylie, called triple zero.
Falls Creek Medical Centre oncall doctor Lauren Tanzen, with am- bulance officer David Ferris, fought through blizzard conditions on the mountain to be first on the scene.
They quickly restarted Oliver’s heart using a defibrillator, and intubated and kept the youngster ventilated with a hand pump for the ensuing four hours while he was transported to Falls Creek Medical Centre in an ‘Oversnow’ vehicle.
Throughout the ordeal, support was provided by supervising doctor Skye Delaney, also at Falls Creek, and Tawonga doctor Mark Zagorski on telephone.
Transport via air ambulance was impossible in the weather conditions, so a road ambulance was called to take Oliver down the mountain to meet a helicopter at Mt Beauty.
He was air-lifted to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital where he suffered a second cardiac arrest.
After heart surgery to implant a pacemaker, Oliver several days later regained consciousness.
He has no discernible brain damage.
Dr Zagorski said that for years one of the goals of the Mt Beauty and Falls Creek medical centres had been to train young doctors in all aspects of rural medicine so they could deal with situations such as that faced by Oliver and his family.
“On this occasion Dr Tanzen was the right person in the right place at the right time, having just completed a year of emergency medical training in Wangaratta prior to starting with us,” he said.
“With the backup of Dr Delaney and the ambulance officer they did a great job, essentially made possible by Oliver’s father’s effective CPR.”
Dr Zagorski strongly recom- mended that people learn CPR technique and use of a defibrillator.
He also encouraged the placement of defibrillators across the community.
Dr Delaney agreed that Oliver’s resuscitation occurred as a result of a fantastic team effort on the part of doctors, paramedics and the Oversnow driver.
“We faced huge challenges when we were not able to get (ambulance) vehicles in,” she said.
“I think it is important to highlight the high level of care which is available here, and how important it is to have all that expertise and lines of communication available when needed.
“We had a great outcome for all.”
The Ambulance Victoria video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7i93n_3BC0.
(Left) WINNING TEAM: Oliver Hopkins was reunited a few weeks after his ordeal with the professionals who saved his life – Ambulance Victoria’s David Ferris and Paul Rankin and Mount Beauty doctor Lauren Tanzen.
(Above) BACK-UP: Important support was supplied by Mount Beauty Medical Centre doctors Skye Delaney and Mark Zagorski.