Video re­counts Alpine emer­gency

Mount Beauty Med­i­cal Cen­tre to fea­ture in CPR video

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - By ALEX CRAIG

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

PHOTO: Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria

(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.

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