Queenstown man survives double heart attack

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A QUEENSTOWN accountant celebrating 50 years’ local practice was all but given up for dead after a heart attack.

Bruce Morris, interviewed ahead of his milestone this week, says he was helicoptered to Dunedin Hospital after an attack during his sleep in May, 2012.

His wife Sheila, a registered nurse, had administered CPR while waiting for an ambulance which took him to Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital, where he was stabilised, before he was choppered out.

While still unconscious in Dunedin Hospital, Morris, then 72, says he had a second heart attack.

At a family meeting the following night, doctors told them they wouldn’t resuscitate him if he had another attack because there’d be less than 10 per cent chance that his brain would still be functioning, he says.

They were told: “We think you should be thinking about funerals.”

Later that night, Morris says his Anglican vicar David Cole, who retired this month, arrived and said a prayer.

“He came back the next morning, brought some oil, probably thinking he was going to say the last rites, anointed me and said a prayer.

“I was still unconscious and at the end of it I said ‘Amen’ and the [intensive care unit staff] realised that the brain was functioning – but it was another two days before I was conscious.” 

Morris – who says his wife put his recovery down to his good physical health – adds: “I attribute most of my recovery to the medical services coordination both here and in Dunedin.”

As an amusing sidelight, he says his personal assistant of 40 years, Bev Cason, emailed him at the time: “Bruce, this wasn’t the deal, we were supposed to retire together.”