UPDATE, 5.40PM: MEMBERS of the Ballina Rotary Club are pleased their efforts to have a public access defibrillator installed in Lennox Head have saved someone's life.

Ballina Rotary Club member Don Conson said the life-saving device was installed in 2007 and has now been used twice.

"When Greg Campbell from the IGA rang me and said they've used it, and this time it worked, it was really good news," he said.

"Our Rotary Club raises money every year for international and local charities and those in need and then saw this as a community service project and so we allocated some of the funds we'd raised towards two defibrillators and we're pleased we did it.

"We'd rather they weren't used but it's nice to know that when they are used, we can save someone."

 

UPDATE 11.30AM: THE warning signs for a heart attack may not be as easy to recognise as you might think.

According to the Heart Foundation, they can vary from person to person, and may not always be sudden or severe.

The one thing they do all have in common, is that the sooner you receive treatment, the less damage will be done to your heart.

Each year, about 55,000 Australians suffer a heart attack (that's one every 10 minutes).

Of those, 9000 die each year (one life per 60 minutes)

In 2013, 24 Australians died from a heart attack each day in 2013

Early warning symptoms of a heart attack

Jaw: You may feel discomfort or pain in your jaw. This could include an ache or tightness in and around the lower haw on either one or both sides. This discomfort can spread from your chest to your jaw.

Neck: People who have had a heart attack describe a general discomfort in their neck, or a choking or burning feeling in their throat. This discomfort may spread from your chest or shoulders to your neck.

Shoulder(s): Discomfort or pain in and around one or both of your shoulders. People who have had a heart attack describe feeling a general ache, heaviness or pressure which spreads from their chest to their shoulders.

Chest: You may feel heaviness, tightness, pressure or a crushing sensation in the centre of the chest. The discomfort may be mild and make you feel generally unwell. It's worth noting chest pain that is a sharp and stabbing sensation is generally less associated with having a heart attack.

Back: People who have had a heart attack describe feeling a dull ache in between their shoulder blades. This discomfort can spread from your chest to your back.

Nausea: You may feel nauseous or generally unwell while experiencing other heart attack symptoms.

Dizziness: You may feel dizzy or light-headed while experiencing other heart attack symptoms.

Cold sweat: You may break out in a cold sweat while experiencing other heart attack symptoms.

Shortness of breath: You may feel short of breath of have difficulty breathing. People who have had a heart attack describe finding it difficult to breathe or take a deep breath due to a tight or constricted feeling in their chest.

-Source: Heart Foundation

 

INITIAL: FOR 10 minutes Mike Haley lay on the ground outside the Lennox Hotel with no heartbeat.

It was only through a combination of unlikely circumstances that he survived what surely would have been a fatal heart attack.

There was the off-duty paramedic who just happened to be eating dinner a few metres away.

The friends who had done first aid courses and knew how to administer CPR.

Rowena Golledge saved Mike Haley's life at Lennox Head after he had a heart attack. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Rowena Golledge saved Mike Haley's life at Lennox Head after he had a heart attack. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

And the public access defibrillator at the IGA nearby, the result of fundraising efforts by the Ballina Rotary Club.

For Rowena Golledge, who has been a paramedic for 14 years and a registered nurse in the emergency department for 17 years, it was a rare, and extremely lucky, save.

"I rarely see this story and that's why it's such an amazing thing," she said.

"To have CPR immediately increases the survival rate tenfold.

"And to have a defibrillator there also increases your survival rate.

"All the stars lined up."

The patient - Mike Haley

Two weeks on from his brush with death and you wouldn't know Mr Haley had suffered a major heart attack.

The fit and healthy 63-year-old non-smoker is a regular in the surf, cycles, plays touch football on a weekly basis and has no family history of heart failure or diabetes.

In retrospect, he said, the first signs there was something wrong probably occurred six weeks before the actual heart attack.

"On the night, I was playing touch football, I was going pretty good ... but in the last 10 minutes I was feeling a little off," he said.

"When I think about it, I was probably out of breath more than anything.

"I just disregarded it as being old and not fit enough and out of breath. But when I think back, my body was telling me something."

After the game, Mr Haley rode his bike to the Lennox Hotel where the players get together after a game for a quiet drink or two.

"I parked my bike out the front and thought I was feeling a little bit off," he said.

"And I sort of got to the wall of the pub and must have passed out then and slid down the wall."

 

Rowena Golledge saved Mike Haley’s life at Lennox Head after he had a heart attack.
Rowena Golledge saved Mike Haley’s life at Lennox Head after he had a heart attack. Marc Stapelberg

The off-duty paramedic - Rowena Golledge

IT'S A tradition for paramedic and nurse Rowena Golledge to go down to the Lennox Hotel every Wednesday night she can for a game of trivia with friends.

"That night I had just started my dinner and one of my mates tapped me on the shoulder and said 'Row, I think you need to go outside, there's someone who doesn't look very well'," she said.

"So I immediately walked out the front of the pub and saw Mike unconscious on the ground.

"He was sitting on the step at that time and pretty much took his last breath in front of me."

At that time, one of Mike's friends was already on the phone to 000, calling for an ambulance.

"I recognised it was a cardiac arrest and started CPR," Ms Golledge said.

"I knew there was a defibrillator at the IGA, because I was aware that Rotary had put that in some years ago and so I asked someone to run up and get that.

"Someone was kind enough to do a quick 300m sprint and hand me the defibrillator."

CPR had already started and Ms Golledge said she got on the phone to 000 to make sure an ambulance was coming and describe exactly what was going on to ensure the fastest response.

"Before I got off the phone to ambulance I had the defib on and we had given him a shock and then continued CPR," she said.

"Mike received three shocks from the defibrillator and got CPR throughout that.

"I can't tell everyone how important it is just to learn how to do it.

"It saved Mike's life and I think it's a really underestimated skill that people think about doing but put it off and I would say don't put it off, go and do it next opportunity you can.

"By the third shock and a little more CPR, he was rouseable and my colleagues at Ballina (had) turned up."

Ms Golledge said Mr Haley had been without a pulse for about 10 minutes.

He was semi-conscious when the ambulance arrived and transported him to Lismore Base Hospital.

 

Rowena Golledge saved Mike Haley’s life at Lennox Head after he had a heart attack.
Rowena Golledge saved Mike Haley’s life at Lennox Head after he had a heart attack. Marc Stapelberg

The heartfelt 'thank you'

"I'd like to thank all my friends and colleagues, the golden oldies, who most of them knew CPR, and the strangers who pitched in," Mr Haley said.

"And the Ballina Rotary Club who put a defibrillator in the IGA store.

"All the way from the paramedics who freighted me to hospital to all the great nurses and doctors who kept me going.

"So a big 'thank you'."



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