Family’s knowledge of CPR saves dad

It was a whole-family effort that saved the life of Gippsland man Darryl Martin when he suffered a cardiac arrest at his Drouin home.

The 60-year-old father-of-four was in the backyard when he collapsed, but thankfully those around him knew exactly what to do, his wife, children and son-in-law all swinging into action.

Darryl’s wife Annette said the family was like a well-oiled team of first responders.

“Darryl was on the ground with no heartbeat or breathing, with the added complication of being outside in bucketing rain,” she said.

“Our son-in-law Lyndon raised the alarm and the whole family came running to start CPR and call Triple Zero (000).

“We coached each other and took turns with compressions to keep the CPR up constantly until paramedics arrived.”

Daughters Gabby and Tessa Martin, wife Annette Martin, MICA paramedic Lisa McColl, Darryl Martin, paramedic Monique Hollands, daughter BJ Calway and son-in-law Lyndon Calway with their daughters Tilda and Juno.

Annette said the family had regularly undertaken CPR training, organised by Darryl at a local school.

Daughter Gabby said while she had the skills, the experience in October last year was still scary.

“Despite having done lots of training, the last thing you expect is actually to perform CPR in a real-life situation,” she said.

“It was just a case of doing whatever we could to try to get Dad back.”

Ambulance Victoria (AV) paramedics arrived on the scene minutes later and administered two shocks with a defibrillator, restarting Darryl’s heart.

Son Luke, an ambulance dispatcher based in Ballarat, was on shift at the time of his dad’s emergency.

“We weren’t really aware of Dad’s condition through the night, although there was a very good sign at about 3am because Mum received a text to say that he’d just done the Wordle in four,” Luke said.

Darryl with two of the paramedics who helped save his life, Lisa McColl (left) and Monique Hollands.

Darryl spent 10 days in hospital before returning home and has been able to return to work full-time.

He said he was “incredibly thankful” for his family.

“I wouldn’t be alive and well today without the swift intervention of my family and the paramedics,” he said.

“I’m even thankful for each cracked rib caused by the CPR.

“I’m blessed to continue being a husband, father and grandfather.”

Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedic Lisa McColl was one of four paramedics to attend Darryl’s case and said effective early CPR had made all the difference.

“We know that bystander intervention has the greatest impact on improving someone’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest,” she said.

“As this case shows, you don’t have to be a paramedic – anyone can save a life.”

Darryl and his family reunited with the paramedics as part of AV’s Shocktober campaign.

Shocktober is a month-long campaign to highlight the importance of learning CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

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