His heart stopped twice in the ambulance, but Neil made a full recovery – thanks to world-renowned treatment at Royal North Shore Hospital.
Neil woke in the early hours of the morning, agitated and unwell. He began moving around restlessly, which worried his wife Sue. ‘I used to work in a hospital,' she said, ‘and I knew the signs of heart attack.'
Neil was convinced it was indigestion. ‘I was extremely fit, and since Sue is a nutritionist, I knew my diet wasn't a problem. So heart attack never entered my mind.'
Too often people in reasonable health misinterpret signs of heart attack and risk life-threatening consequences, but luckily for Neil his wife diagnosed the situation and called the ambulance.
The ambulance officers were participating in Royal North Shore Hospital's pilot study (ETAMI/SALAMI) for treating heart attack.
As soon as possible they transmitted data about Neil's condition from an ECG (electrocardiogram) to the hospital. In minutes a team was standing by in the catheter lab of Royal North Shore Hospital, ready to help on his arrival.
En route Neil's heart stopped. The defibrillator paddles were brought out and started his heart again. Then at Crows Nest Junction his heart stopped again, and again he was revived – only for it to stop for a third time in the car park of Royal North Shore Hospital itself.
The early assessment by ambulance staff saved precious minutes.
Neil went straight to the catheter lab, where a stent was inserted into his blocked artery.
Incredibly, by 6 am, he was sitting up in bed, surrounded by his relieved family. ‘I looked as though I'd wrestled a giant squid,' said Neil. ‘I had burn marks all over my chest from the paddles, but incredibly I was all right. A full recovery!'
Research is the key
The life-saving ETAMI/SALAMI program is the result of dedicated research, funded by the Foundation. The cardiologists at Royal North Shore rely on your donations to continue their vital work on the causes and treatment of heart disease.