Darrell McDonald had a massive heart attack and said he's grateful to his workmates for saving his life.
Darrell McDonald had a massive heart attack and said he's grateful to his workmates for saving his life. Jarred Sferruzzi

He died four times, but his mates saved his life

FOR 'Plumby' Darrell McDonald, October 14 was just like any other day.

The 60-year-old had his breakfast, said goodbye to his wife and left his Sandy Creek property to drive to work at Dowdens Pumping and Water Treatment.

After finishing his morning jobs, he sat down to have lunch with his workmates Brad and Paul Phie, and Jonathan Greenham. That's the last thing he remembers.

"All I remember is black," Darrell said.

Five days later he woke up in a hospital bed. Doctors said he'd had a massive heart attack and the only reason he was alive was because of the quick actions of his colleagues.

"I was dead, I was literally dead" Darrell explained.

"Three or four times my heart actually stopped, but they (workmates) just kept doing CPR and wouldn't stop.

"Once I got to the hospital, even the doctors said I'd be lucky to make it through the night.

"But here I am, alive, with absolutely nothing wrong with me at all."

When asked how he felt waking up in hospital, Darrell jokingly answered he felt more than fine as he was "doped up to the eyeballs" and was "high as a kite".

Aside from slight complications 10 years ago, Darrell had never had any heart issues and had no warning signs he was about to have a heart attack.

Not only is he incredibly grateful to his workmates for saving his life, but he said it also highlights the importance of learning first aid safety skills.

"The training paid off and actually saved my life," he said.

"I'm just glad these guys took it on board."

 

Brad Phie, Jonathan Greenham and Paul Phie jumped in to perform CPR on their friend when he collapsed.
Brad Phie, Jonathan Greenham and Paul Phie jumped in to perform CPR on their friend when he collapsed. Jarred Sferruzzi

Saving his life

Colleagues described the moment Darrell lost consciousness as "instant".

Brad, Paul and Jon immediately called emergency services when he collapsed, and put their years of first aid training to work.

They laid him down and despite finding no pulse and no breath, began CPR.

"Two of the guys were doing compressions in cycles, while the other was on the phone to the ambulance," Dowdens group manager safety and human resources Richard Irelandes explained.

"After what seemed like an eternity, the two guys began to feel fatigued, so the third man passed the phone to me and joined in.

"That lasted for about 14 minutes until the ambulance arrived who were able to take over.

"He was revived twice on site, then lost twice, and the same happened on the way to the hospital.

"All the feedback from the medical staff and doctors is that 14 minutes saved him."

Mr Irelandes said the quick response from Brad, Paul and Jon and their calm attitude during a traumatic event was thanks to years of training.

While the three men don't consider themselves heroes, they acknowledged the CPR helped Darrell's recovery, but said his "stubborn" nature brought him through.

Mr McDonald is now at home recovering, but surprised his friends and family when the first thing he wanted to do when waking up, was go back to work.

"Straight from the hospital I went to the workshop and gave them my medical certificate," he joked.

"I just wanted to thank them all for saving my life."



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