Golf course life-saver

Talk about timing.

An overseas visitor who suffered a serious heart attack at Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort can thank a handily-placed defibrillator, a retired nurse who administered CPR, and emergency personnel for saving his life last week.

The late-60s Northern Irishman, a guest at the resort, had just left the driving range when he collapsed in a golf cart.

Millbrook member Bridget Mee, a former nurse who was a few metres away, saw him ‘‘slumped down the side of the cart’’, took the defibrillator off the driving range wall and shocked him back to life just before the Arrowtown volunteer fire brigade arrived.

Mee says other bystanders helped out, including nursing friend Jeanet Witteman and golf coach Ben Gallie, who she says was getting instructions on the phone to ‘‘keep doing CPR even if you think he’s breathing’’.

Course assistant superintendent Ollie Nilsson also administered CPR.

Also rushing to help were police and ambulance officers, and the victim was subsequently air ambulanced to Dunedin Hospital.

‘The first five minues is crucial’

Millbrook director of operations Brian Howie says he’s heard the guest has since been discharged and is on his way to recovery.

‘‘It’s a great news story — it shows the importance of a defibrillator and also just the way everybody was there and just went about doing their job and obviously saved this guy’s life.’’

He points out the defib was only installed about 18 months ago.

An Arrowtown firey, who doesn’t want to be named, confirms the victim had been revived before they arrived — ‘‘that first five minutes is quite crucial’’.

‘‘It was a well-coordinated, well-oiled machine.

‘‘We have a lot of unsuccessful ones, and these successful ones, it gives you the confidence you get there quick enough, or the people on the scene prior to you getting there have the knowledge of what to do, it can save lives, and that’s why we do a lot of training.’’

He recalls a few years ago a patron at Arrowtown’s The Fork & Tap, who also had a heart attack, was saved by someone using a defibrillator from the nearby Post Office.

‘‘By the time we got there, they’d put a shock in, which is fantastic.’’

Speaking of last Thursday’s incident, Mee says ‘‘it was definitely the shock that saved [the victim’s] life’’.

‘‘Everyone did a great job.

‘‘I think I started CPR at 9.10am and he was in the helicopter and out of there, fully resuscitated, within 50 minutes.’’

She suggests anyone walking past a defibrillator takes a mental a note of where it is as ‘‘you never know when [you need to use it], and then look at it and see how simple it is to use’’.

‘‘Technology’s changed so much — you just press the green button and it tells you what to do, it’s so simple.’’

Arrowtown Promotion & Business Association manager Nicky Busst, whose organisation oversees the town’s main street defibrillators by the Post Office and the bakery, says last Thursday’s incident ‘‘just demonstrates the importance of these valuable tools’’.

‘‘We will probably, off the back of this, do another training session with the fire station who did one last year for our frontline workers so they are competent in how to use them, because it is, literally, life and death in that situation.’’

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