When Western Bulldogs supporter Rob McCarthy woke up after having a heart attack at the MCG on grand final day, he only wanted to know one thing.
“Did the Doggies win?” he asked. “That’s when I put my thumb up and everybody [in the crowd] started clapping and cheering. “They knew I’d survived so that was nice.”
Mr McCarthy, 64, was saved by off-duty paramedic Liam Moore who performed CPR.
“I knew that when I got there he still had a pulse, we still had a chance,” he said.
Someone got a defibrillator, which was installed in the MCG just for this reason, and shocked his heart into a normal rhythm.
He was taken to hospital where doctor’s performed life-saving surgery.
Chain of survival
- CPR needs to be started within 60 seconds
- Within 3 minutes the brain starts to be permanently damaged
- The longer it takes to get to a defibrillator, the less likely it will be successful
Cardiologist Dr Nick Cox said the quick-thinking paramedic started Mr McCarthy’s “chain of survival”.
“CPR was started straight away, so blood was able to be pumped to his brain an his brain was able to survive,” he said.
Dr Cox was asked if the stress of a footy match could actually bring on a heart attack.
“It can but you probably have to have a bit of a problem as well,” he said. “In Rob’s case there was a narrowing of the artery which was unrecognised and he’d not had symptoms before.”
More defibrillators needed in public places
Mr McCarthy thanked his rescuers for their help and is now using his story to push for the need for more defibrillators to be located in public places.
“Businesses and whatever start looking at getting defibrillators and teach people how to do CPR,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The paramedic might be 10 minutes away, five minutes away, and the defibrillator could be the item that might save your life.”
But just having more defibrillators around is not enough, Dr Cox said.
“More important we need people who know how to use them and people who are brave enough to make the call, to hook the machine up, to follow the instructions and to follow that [with] training,” he said.
Mr McCarthy said he would get the all clear from the doctor before he watched the last 10 minutes of the game he missed.