Tradie drives ambulance to save man's life
Jason Mackintosh, a floor sander from Glenroy, told radio station 3AW he had little idea of what was about to unfold when he pulled up behind a car stopped in the road near Korumburra.PT2M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37tsi 620 349 May 6, 2014
A quick-thinking Melbourne tradesman helped save a man’s life by performing CPR before being asked by paramedics to drive the ambulance to hospital while they worked frantically to revive the dying man in the back of the vehicle.
Jason Mackintosh, a floor sander from Glenroy, told radio station 3AW of his heroic efforts to save the man’s life in South Gippsland on Monday morning.
“I thought it was going to be a usual drive to work … but about 12 kilometres out of Korumburra … there was a car stopped in the middle of the road,” Mr Mackintosh said.
Jason Mackintosh ... didn't have an average day at work. Photo: Simon Schluter
“I noticed from the back of the car that the guy was an animal rescue type of person … and thought that an animal had been hit by a car, and this guy wanted to block the traffic.
“But when I tooted him a few times and there was no response, I got out of the car and tapped on his window.”
At first, the man looked like he was on the phone, Mr Mackintosh said, but on closer inspection it seemed “he was having a heart attack”.
“I opened the door and, at that point, the car started to roll backwards, so I grabbed the hand brake and turned the car off.
“I still got no response from the guy, so then myself and two or three other people pulled him out - he was quite a big guy - put him on the ground, and started CPR.”
Mr Mackintosh, who completed CPR training only the day before, said the bystanders - a medical student and a nurse - worked together to keep the man alive until paramedics arrived.
“At one stage I'm pretty sure we lost his pulse and breathing, which was quite scary,” he said.
“I was pretty much in charge of his head the whole time and staring into his eyes, and seeing that blank look when he was trying to breathe and turning blue.”
After paramedics arrived, they asked Mr Mackintosh to drive the ambulance with lights and sirens operating to Korumburra Hospital.
“They turned to my brother and I and said: ‘where are you guys going from here?’,” he recalled.
“We said we were going up to Foster and they said: ‘Well, we need one of you guys to drive us into the hospital’.”
A stressful drive followed, with Mr Mackintosh having to learn to drive an unfamiliar vehicle in the rain.
“There was one point where it was starting to spin a bit, and ... I couldn't find the wipers,” he said.
“I didn’t want to press the wrong buttons and have one of the doors open or something go off."
After arriving safely at Korumburra Hospital the patient was transferred to Monash Medical Centre, where he remained in a stable condition on Tuesday.
One of the paramedics, Ben Minchin, said Mr Mackintosh and the other bystanders saved the man’s life.
“Without any doubt he would not have been alive without the CPR being performed before we arrived,” he told 3AW.
Mr Minchin said he and his partner were on a rest break when they received the call.
He confirmed that the patient had a heart attack while driving, and did not have a pulse when they arrived.
“We got him back though, and we worried if we lost him again, he wouldn’t make it,” he said. “We really needed two sets of hands to deal with the patient.”
Mr Minchin said asking a bystander to drive the ambulance was a “split-second decision”.
“We would usually get a CFA member or police if we can get them ... we were so close to hospital that the decision was made to get him there.”
Mr Mackintosh drove “nice and steady”, he said, and “we didn’t break any rules”.
As a result, the patient was “sitting up and talking in Korumburra before getting into the helicopter to Monash”.
While the unusual turn of events has highlighted the lack of resources in rural hospitals, Mr Minchin said this particular case was based on the immediate necessity to save a man’s life.
“We’re always stretched for resources in rural … but on this occasion, we had resources coming with the helicopter, and we were so close to hospital [that] the decision was made to take him there.”