Onslow resident’s near-death shock
An Onslow resident is counting her lucky stars she was in the company of two people with first aid knowledge after a near-death experience.
Jim Reid was visiting his mate and landlord Jenny Whitmore on August 5 when she collapsed, suffering from a cardiac arrest.
Mr Reid and Mrs Whitmore’s husband Graeme, a former St John Ambulance volunteer, put their first aid skills to work, applying CPR while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Mrs Whitmore said the leadup to the incident had been nothing more than a normal day chewing the fat with a few mates. “We were just sitting around outside with some friends having a drink,” she said.
“I stood up to show Jim something and just felt the room spin and go black, white and grey.
“I held the door frame and that was it, that was me over and done with. “I collapsed in the house.” Mrs Whitmore said she was lucky this had happened with people around her who knew what to do.
Mr Reid said he first thought Mrs Whitmore had seen a snake, but quickly realised she was in trouble.
“When she fell forward and head-butted the table, I just thought ‘that ain’t right’,” he said. “So I leaped up, realised she wasn’t breathing straight away, and couldn’t feel a pulse.”
After being taken to Onslow Hospital, Mrs Whitmore was transferred to Perth by the Royal Flying Doctor Service for further treatment.
Onslow community paramedic Katie Evans said the quick response likely saved Mrs Whitmore’s life.
“Ideally we would like to be on-scene as soon as someone has a cardiac arrest but it’s just not possible,” she said.
“To have people on-scene doing first aid such as CPR is the difference between life and death.
“While CPR is fantastic, the patient experienced a significant downtime, so she was quite critical once we got her to Onslow Hospital.”
Ms Evans said learning first aid skills could be the difference between life and death for a loved one.
Mr Reid has since done a refresher course run by the Onslow sub centre to brush up his skills.
“If you are in that situation, you don’t know what to do, and things take a turn for the worse, you would be left feeling guilty you couldn’t help,” he said.
“I am happy that having a bit of knowledge saved me from having that lifetime of regret.”
First aid courses are run regularly by local St John Ambulance sub centres.
Andrew Price, Jim Reid, Jenny and Graeme Whitmore, Renae Coates and Katie Evans.