Smart cit­i­zens save lives


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Community Heroes - Michele Nu­gent

LIS­TEN­ING to an audio play­back of his young son’s voice call­ing 000 was an emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for Lath­lain fa­ther Stephen Palermo.

In March, when Se­bas­tian was still nine years old, Mr Palermo had a se­vere epilep­tic seizure. His wife Sa­matha had taken their youngest son Christian to a swimming les­son, and Se­bas­tian had to cope on his own dur­ing the sud­den emer­gency.

“He was quite calm and ma­ture. I don’t think I would have been that calm,” Stephen said.

Se­bas­tian (now 10) was one of sev­eral lo­cal res­i­dents named St John Am­bu­lance WA Com­mu­nity He­roes at an awards cer­e­mony at Gov­ern­ment House last Thurs­day.

The award recog­nises his ef­forts to call 000 and follow the call-taker’s in­struc­tions to keep his fa­ther’s head away from heavy ob­jects as he lay on the floor, stay­ing on the phone un­til paramedics ar­rived.

“Hear­ing it (the audio) again was still quite raw and emo­tional. I am ex­tremely proud of him,” Mr Palermo said.

WA Gov­er­nor Kerry Sanderson also pre­sented com­mu­nity hero awards to Gary Ker­man of Vic­to­ria Park, Tammy Cowan and her 16-year-old son Sasha Thomas of Kens­ing­ton and Perth Hockey Sta­dium em­ployee Hope Munro, of Al­fred Cove.

Gary Ker­man: The Vic­to­ria Park man was in a cafe when 62year-old Neville Jones of Can­ning Vale dropped to the ground, suf­fer­ing car­diac ar­rest in the al­fresco area where he and a group of cy­cling mates were en­joy­ing a cof­fee.

Hav­ing re­cently com­pleted a first-aid re­fresher course, Mr Ker­man be­gan per­form­ing CPR on his own un­til paramedics ar­rived 10 min­utes later. Mr Jones is now re­cov­er­ing well from a triple by­pass.

Tammy Cowan, Sasha Thomas and Hope Munro:

Cowan and Thomas were leav­ing Perth Hockey Sta­dium in Bent­ley when they no­ticed a car stopped in an odd po­si­tion. When they went to check if ev­ery­thing was OK they found 60-year-old Derek Jobe of No­randa slumped after a car­diac ar­rest.

Tammy and Sasha pulled Mr Jobe, who had just fin­ished a reg- ular af­ter­noon of hockey prac­tice, out of the car, found he was not breath­ing and while Sasha called 000, Tammy be­gan CPR.

Sta­dium em­ployee Hope Munro used the sta­dium’s Au­to­matic Ex­ter­nal De­fib­ril­la­tor to ad­min­is­ter one shock, which was enough to en­sure he had a pulse by the time paramedics ar­rived.

In hos­pi­tal, Derek was given two stents and an im­planted car­diac de­fib­ril­la­tor, and has now made a great re­cov­ery.

■ The Gov­er­nor also pre­sented 26 Na­tional Medals and medal clasps to am­bu­lance and com­mu­ni­ca­tions per­son­nel in recog­ni­tion of their ser­vice.

Paid staff who have pro­vided 15 years of un­bro­ken ser­vice for St John were el­i­gi­ble for the Na­tional Medal, with clasps for ev­ery 10 years of ser­vice there­after.

The Na­tional Medal is a recog­nised award within the Aus­tralian Hon­ours Sys­tem.

St John Am­bu­lance WA Com­mu­nity He­roes Sasha Thomas, Tammy Cowan and Hope Munro with Derek Jobe, who they res­cued and re­vived after he had a heart at­tack.

Lath­lain’s Stephen Palermo with his hero, son Se­bas­tian (10).

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