Age Concern head takes job literally
The chairman of Age Concern Hawke’s Bay took a very hands-on approach to his role recently, when he was called on to help save the life of an elderly woman in a Waipawa supermarket.
Just a day before his own 78th birthday Terry Kingston was waiting in line at Four Square Waipawa when his attention was drawn to a woman sitting on a chair near the checkout.
Terry, who spent 15 years as a Central Hawke’s Bay district councillor, said “A lady was sitting in the rest chair they have in the store and looking very pale. As I looked at her she went the colour of milk. It was obvious something was very wrong.”
Terry and Four Square Waipawa supervisor Tasha Franklin rushed to check for a pulse and finding none Tasha dialled 111 to call an ambulance. She then put the phone on speaker.
The emergency services operator told Terry to begin CPR.
“The lady had deteriorated. Her toes and fingers were purple. I started to do CPR.
“We were all elderly there, except for the supervisor. I am 78 and the other people helping were probably even older,” he said.
“I did four bursts to start with but the operator told me I had to keep going. CPR has changed a little since I first learned it as a Boy Scout 60 years ago, and my last refresher course was at least 16 years ago.
“I knew to put firm pressure in the middle of the chest and between the operator giving me instructions and the contribution of Tasha I just responded and did what I had to do,” he said.
“My own adrenaline was pumping and I thought ‘I’m doing this, and that’s all there is to it’.”
Terry says he was kneeling in a comfortable position and the large amount of fitness work he’s done over the past two years meant he felt no fatigue and was prepared to continue for as long as it took.
“The lady started to come round — I said ‘Oh my God she’s breathing’ — and we put her into the recovery position. I looked up and there were the St John Ambulance staff coming in the door. I left them to it.”
Terry says he was been amazed at the satisfaction he felt, being able to do something about the situation.
“For me, this incident was one oldie looking after a fellow oldie. It’s what I’d want someone to do for me.
“I just happened to be in the right position at the right time, and I am so pleased I did it. Without being dramatic, it was actually very rewarding.”
Terry still doesn’t know who his patient was.
“She was from Taradale and she was able to tell us she’d left her car parked nearby, with a friend sitting in it. Eventually Police located the car and were able to let the friend know what had occurred.”
Terry says he is now familiarising himself with the locations of AED devices (defibrillators) around CHB.
“That would have made the difference if our patient had not responded. We have AEDs located all over our communities and they are vital pieces of equipment.” ■ To find AEDdevices near you, go to aedlocations.co.nz ■ You can also download an AED Locations app from www. healthnavigator.org.nz
Terry Kingston relaxes at home after a week that involved celebrating his birthday and saving a stranger’s life.