A medical emergency at Merimbula RSL Club reinforced the importance of regular first aid training, when just days after completing a refresher course, staff of the club successfully resuscitated a female patron.
On Sunday, September 8, staff members Garry Innes, Johanna Innes and Jasmine Moore quickly leapt to the aid of the woman and put their first aid training to good use when she suddenly collapsed, needing immediate medical attention.
The three staff members were able to resuscitate the patron keeping her stable enough for the paramedics to take her to hospital.
Describing the emergency, Garry Innes, a supervisor at the club, said the elderly lady was standing in the queue at the restaurant when she suddenly collapsed onto the floor. He said she “had stopped breathing and was turning blue”.
While Garry phoned triple zero and prepared the defibrillator from the first aid kit, Jasmine Moore commenced chest compressions on the lady. After 22 compressions she started to breathe again and her colour improved.
Jasmine and Johanna Innes kept the patron talking and assisted her circulation by rubbing her arms and legs until ambulance paramedics arrived.
Garry said their training had given them confidence and they worked as a team throughout the emergency, helping each other through the procedures they had learned.
He said he hopes this event will encourage people to see the importance of having regular first aid training.
“What happened that Sunday proves how vital it is to be trained in first aid. You never know when you will need to use the skills developed during the course,” he said
“When something like this happens, your first instinct is to help the person. I am just glad the refresher course we did was still fresh in my mind. The more people know first aid, the better off we’ll be.”
The course was facilitated by Michele and Peter Bootes from Pambula Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC).
Michael Mutsch, general manager of Merimbula RSL, said he was very proud of his staff and is still getting positive feedback from people who were present when the patron collapsed.
“Their quick thinking saved someone’s life and I couldn’t be prouder,” he said.
“Patrons of the club who were present during the incident keep coming up to me and praising the staff for the confident and professional way they managed the patient.
“Credit also needs to go to Michele and Peter from Pambula SLSC for doing a great job teaching the staff how to effectively handle that situation.
“I want to encourage anyone who wants to learn first aid or who simply needs a refresher course to contact Michele or Peter at the Surf Life Saving Club,” he said.
A spokesperson for Clubs NSW said that while it isn’t required by legislation, first aid training is considered “best practice” within the club industry. At Merimbula RSL, a first aid trained staff member is on duty at all times.
The patron has since made a speedy recovery and is already back enjoying herself at the club.