A Perfect Teaching Moment

A Perfect Teaching Moment

September 28, 2007–PALMERSTON NORTH, NZ–A first-aid lesson turned into real-life drama when a man collapsed outside the classroom - forcing the tutor to put his training to the test.

And the students thought the emergency was staged for dramatic effect.

But the incident was very real, and Paul Fowles' quick thinking was able to save the elderly man who had suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

The 34-year-old from Palmerston North was about to start teaching CPR in the Levin Volunteer Fire Brigade building as part of a two-day St John Workplace First Aid course, when a member of the public ran inside yelling for help.

Across the road, a man believed to be in his 60s had collapsed on the pavement. “I went across and found he was not breathing and he didn't have a pulse,”Mr. Fowles said.

He performed CPR and sent a bystander to get a heart defibrillator from the fire station. Mr Fowles then used it to shock the man's heart into a normal rhythm.

The man had been walking along Queen St with his brother when he collapsed.

An ambulance arrived within minutes and took him to the coronary unit at Palmerston North Hospital.

Without intervention, Mr Fowles believes, the man would have died. However, he is modest about his action, describing it as a “team effort”.

When Mr Fowles returned to his class he was met with a barrage of questions.

“They couldn't believe that the man happened to collapse outside where we were. They were asking if it was part of the class.”

He then went on to teach them the same techniques he had used on the man. Last year, a student on his course had gone home for lunch and been able to help a choking baby with skills she had learned on the course.

-Source: New Zealand Herald

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The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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