Staff's Driving Ambition To Save A Life
It was the day before Christmas last year and staff at Watson Holden, Bundoora, were winding down and looking forward to celebrating the big day with family and friends when, out of the blue, a colleague collapsed and stopped breathing.
The dealership's 28-year-old finance consultant, Devlin Quai-Hoi, had gone into cardiac arrest. His colleagues immediately rushed to his aid, calling Triple 000, checking his airways and beginning CPR. Their courage, skills and teamwork saved Devlin's life and earned them a special Ambulance Victoria Commendation Award. The emergency revealed that Mr Quai-Hoi had been living with undetected arrhythmia, a potentially life-threatening condition that causes sudden changes to the heart rhythm.
As Devlin lay unconscious on his office floor, the company's business manager, Mark Frederiksen, general sales manager and twin brother Peter, and service manager Robert Pandolfo kept his airway free and took it in turns to pump his chest. Other staff members pushed cars out of the way so the ambulance could reach Devlin quickly and easily.
MICA paramedic Joshua Betts and ALS paramedic Hayley McCartin stabilised Mr Quai-Hoi before transporting him to the Alfred Hospital, where doctors implanted a pacemaker. Making a full recovery at home, Mr Quai-Hoi said the experience was "still pretty surreal." "The last thing I remember was getting a pretty funny text from my cousin and getting up from my desk" Mr Quai-Hoi said. "Next thing I know I am waking up in hospital."
"I was told I was clinically dead for 16 minutes and the doctors said that brain damage can happen even after nine minutes so they reckon I'm a bit of a miracle. I owe my life to these guys and I cannot thank them enough."
Mark Frederiksen said he felt goose bumps when he recalled the incident.
"Seeing someone you are you pretty good mates with just lying there, nearly dead, is really hard" he said. "I am very proud of what everyone did. I believe we performed the CPR correctly and Devlin is here with us today because of it."
Paramedic Joshua Betts said how bystanders reacted in medical emergencies could mean the difference between life and death.
"The collapse of their colleague was a completely unexpected event for the staff members involved yet everyone responded decisively, calmly and extremely effectively as a team," Mr Betts said.
"The whole team deserves to be recognised as they effectively saved Devlin's life.