Mead­ow­bank res­i­dent meets his life­savers

East and Bays Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JAY BOREHAM

When a Mead­ow­bank res­i­dent’s heart stopped, a chain of peo­ple stepped in to save him.

David Willis had been hol­i­day­ing in Omaha in April and on the morn­ing of Easter Sun­day, he had de­cided to go for an early morn­ing run.

On the way back, Willis stopped to chat with a cou­ple about their dogs and then jogged up a path off the beach where he ran into trou­ble.

‘‘Every­thing just went black and I don’t re­mem­ber any­thing after that un­til I woke up in the West­pac chop­per,’’ Willis said.

Lucky for Willis, the cou­ple he had just spo­ken to, AJ Hazel­hurst and his wife Julie, were less than two min­utes be­hind him.

‘‘He’d just lit­er­ally hit the pave­ment with his face,’’ Hazel­hurst said.

He turned Willis over and im­me­di­ately be­gan what would be­come nearly 30 min­utes of CPR, while his wife called 111.

She had also down­loaded the AED de­fib­ril­la­tor find­ing app and Hazel­hurst dis­cov­ered one at the Omaha Surf Life Sav­ing Club.

‘‘Ev­ery time I look at my kids I re­mem­ber that day and ev­ery­body who kept me alive.’’ David Willis

She headed back to the fam­ily bach and asked a friend to head to the club. Hazel­hurst then re­turned to where her hus­band was con­tin­u­ing CPR.

A life­guard ar­rived with the de­fib­ril­la­tor, shocked Willis, and Hazel­hurst con­tin­ued CPR.

St John paramedics ar­rived to help and called for the Auck­land West­pac res­cue he­li­copter.

Willis vis­ited the Auck­land res­cue he­li­copter base on Septem­ber 28 to thank some of those in­volved in sav­ing his life.

‘‘Ev­ery time I look at my kids I re­mem­ber that day and ev­ery­body who kept me alive,’’ the fa­ther of two said.

Over lots of ban­ter, hugs and hand­shakes the group pieced to­gether what had hap­pened for Willis, who had lit­tle rec­ol­lec­tion.

Hazel­hurst had done a CPR course two months be­fore. He praised the 111 op­er­a­tor who had coached him through CPR as­pects and val­i­dated what he learnt.

West­pac ad­vanced para­medic Chris Dea­con said the he­li­copter crew would have been com­pletely in­ef­fec­tive if it had not been for the peo­ple there be­fore them.

‘‘It was that first shock. That’s when his heart started again and the point when his life was saved,’’ Dea­con said.

Willis spent more than two weeks in hos­pi­tal.


HEMS doc­tor Emily Junck with David Willis, AJ Hazel­hurst, Nicky Willis and ad­vanced para­medic Chris Dea­con.

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