Second chance at life

Cardiac arrest survivor Will Purcell (bottom right) reunites with Duncan Erwin, Sean Beams, Ralf Harries, David Pavia, Shannon Cefai, Dave Gannon and Madge Anderton. 203043 Picture: Justin Flynn

A public defibrillator will be stationed at Ocean Grove main beach after an Ocean Grove man, who suffered a cardiac arrest, was saved by quick-thinking bystanders.

Barwon Coast along the Dunes cafe will fund the defibrillator and Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club has agreed to maintain it.

It comes after Will Purcell, 60, was saved from a cardiac arrest in December.

Mr Purcell was walking along the beach with his board when he suddenly collapsed.

Madge Anderton had just finished a run with when Mr Purcell fell in front of her. As she ran to find help, she alerted some tradesmen who were working nearby.

Alistair Gordon, Sean Beams, David Gannon and Harry Taylor ran to the scene, alerted the surf lifesaving club, called triple zero and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Retired MICA paramedic Ralf Harries was walking by and also ran to help, while former Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club president David Pavia retrieved an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from the club.

Will, a father of three adult children, said he had been fit and healthy prior to his collapse.

“I wasn’t feeling unwell at all,” he said.

“Fortunately I don’t remember a thing, but I know how lucky I was.

“My wife was in Bali at the time and I know if it wasn’t for the intervention of all those who came to my aid the outcome for my family may have been very different.”

Ambulance Victoria Barwon South West Regional Director Duncan Erwin said quick thinking, effective CPR and using the AED all contributed to saving Will’s life.

“What a wonderful Christmas present was given to Will and his family by the selfless actions of these bystanders,” he said.

“We really commend all those involved for quickly recognising that CPR needed to be done and starting effective chest compressions.”

Mr Erwin said an exciting initiative was the recently introduced GoodSAM App, which alerts people when a triple zero call is made for a nearby suspected cardiac arrest.

“All Victorian adults now have the chance to save lives by downloading the GoodSAM Responder app and registering as a responder,” he said.

“The life-saving GoodSAM smartphone app connects Victorians in cardiac arrest with first-aid-qualified responders and defibrillators in the critical minutes before paramedics arrive.”

Mr Purcell spent time in The University Hospital in Geelong and had a defibrillator inserted and is slowly returning to exercise.

“I am now keen to do all I can to raise funds to increase the number of readily accessible AEDs in Ocean Grove and I encourage everyone in the local community to download GoodSAM,” he said.


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