A woman who experienced a cardiac arrest while shopping at a Coles supermarket has praised the three staff members who saved her life.
A few weeks ago Mary Brockhoff, a mum of three, was shopping at the supermarket at Burwood East when she collapsed in the confectionary aisle.
At the time Connor Ferris, the manager on duty, rushed to the aisle after hearing someone had passed out. When he got there he saw Ms Brockhoff hanging off her trolley and her face was purple.
He sprung into action, calling Triple 000 and moving her onto the ground in a safe position.
“On the phone to Triple 000, they asked me to check her breathing and her pulse," Mr Ferris said.
"When I didn’t hear anything, I commenced CPR. We then went and grabbed the defibrillator and shocked her twice."
Roy Zeng, the dairy manager, had completed his first-aid training with Coles earlier this year and did chest compressions while team member Emilia Cox kept Ms Brockhoff's airway clear.
The three staff members worked together, giving Ms Brockhoff two shocks from the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Firefighters then arrived on the scene and gave her two more shocks before paramedics arrived.
Coles staff praised for 'heroic actions'
Ms Brockhoff was treated by paramedics at the scene and then transported to the hospital in a critical condition. She was in an induced coma for five days and miraculously survived.
She has since been discharged and on Thursday, went back to the Burwood East Coles to meet with the staff members and first responders who saved her life.
“The quick thinking of the Coles team members, Emilia, Roy and Connor without a doubt saved my life," she said.
“They are angels and my family and I cannot begin to thank them for their heroic actions. They are a significant part of our family life together moving forward."
Ms Brockhoff said she had no symptoms, is not in any of the risk categories for cardiac arrest and has no family history of heart problems.
She believes every workplace should have compulsory first-aid training and a defibrillator, and at least one person onsite who knows how to use it at all times.
How people can help save lives
Mr Zeng said he never expected he would need to put his first-aid training to use.
"Training on a dummy and doing it in real life are two very different things,” he said.
“It was a team effort. It feels amazing to have saved somebody’s life. I was so relieved to hear that she came out of the coma.”
Paramedic Chris Hastings from Ambulance Victoria Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) was among those who responded to the Coles store just weeks ago.
He recognised that a cardiac arrest is a traumatic event for everyone involved, however, he stressed the importance of bystanders being confident to start CPR, adding early intervention is critical to improve someone's chance of survival.
“Mary is incredibly lucky. If she had a cardiac arrest while at home alone, there would have been no one available to call 000 or commence CPR and use a defib,” he said.
“The bystanders were able to identify the problem early, call for help early, administer early CPR and administer early defibrillation. They have done a terrific job.”
Ambulance Victoria CEO Professor Tony Walker says you don't need to be a paramedic to save someone's life.
"You just have to be willing to give hands-only CPR,” he said.
“There are three simple steps to save someone’s life: Call (Call Triple Zero 000), Push (Perform CPR) and Shock (Use an AED).
“Become a GoodSAM Responder this Shocktober and help us help more Victorians survive cardiac arrest.”
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