REAL AUSTRALIA

Cross my heart and hope to fly

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by ACM's digital news editor Janine Graham.

I don't know Drew May. And I suspect you don't either.

Well, maybe not THIS Drew May.

But I wish I did.

This Drew May is the kind of guy you want to work alongside.

Just for a moment, for everyone having a sneaky read of this at work, just have a little glance about.

If you're really important, open your office door and surreptitiously check out your colleagues. If you're in the middle of the moshpit and hotdesk it with the hoi polloi, rise above the cubicle divider and look critically. As critically as possible without seeming too creepy.

Ask yourself: Would you trust these people with your life?

Because you do. Every day. Every day you're in the office (the factory / the classroom / the workshop ... etc etc) these are the people who, potentially, hold your future in their hands.

No offence to my regular desk buddy, but if I had a dodgy heart I'd prefer to working next to Drew May.

The now beaming Rodney Smith (left) with his equally chuffed workmate Drew May. Picture: Mark Jesser

The now beaming Rodney Smith (left) with his equally chuffed workmate Drew May. Picture: Mark Jesser

Drew told The Border Mail his training kicked in when he saw his colleague, Rodney Smith, go into cardiac arrest at their Wodonga workplace earlier this year.

Drew, and his mates, performed CPR before emergency services arrived. They gave Rodney a chance. They saved his life.

I don't believe my desk buddy has been faced with such a situation. But given she crawled out of a swimming pool mid-race "because the water was too cold", my expectations of heroism aren't high.

Ambulance Victoria attends more than 6000 cardiac arrests every year but only one in 10 survive.

Martin Haley was saved by the quick thinking of an off duty nurse performing CPR and using a defibrillator in May. Picture: Scott Gelston.

Martin Haley was saved by the quick thinking of an off duty nurse performing CPR and using a defibrillator in May. Picture: Scott Gelston.

In Tasmania, Martin Haley's survival story is even more remarkable. He was dead - on the squash court - for seven minutes.

Enter a nearby off-duty nurse who performed CPR and used a defibrillator.

The Examiner's Isobel Cootes explained that Martin's heart is fixed and he's still upright but better still, he now knows CPR

As the former head of Wollongong Hospital's emergency department, Dr Richard Pryor knew CPR. But it didn't much help when his heart stopped.

Instead, it was a tradie who saved his life.

"I don't remember anything but fortunately a tradie working across the road saw me go down, ran over and administered CPR and kept me alive until the ambulance got there," Dr Pyror told the Illawarra Mercury's Lisa Wachsmuth.

Dr Richard Pryor, emergency physician and former head of Wollongong Hospital's emergency department, with one of the paramedics who came to his aid, Inspector Matt Sterling. Picture: Adam McLean

Dr Richard Pryor, emergency physician and former head of Wollongong Hospital's emergency department, with one of the paramedics who came to his aid, Inspector Matt Sterling. Picture: Adam McLean

"Paramedics were able to shock me with a defibrillator to get my heart back into the normal rhythm and get me to hospital for further emergency care."

These experiences were recounted across the ACM network on Wednesday which doubled as Restart a Heart Day.

See, it's not all bad news - there is good news, especially if your desk buddy knows CPR.

Janine Graham,

Digital news editor, ACM

Sign up below to receive the Voice of Real Australia newsletter direct to your inbox each weekday.