Hawthorn Resident Rescued Following Gym Cardiac Arrest


Hugh, a Hawthorn resident, faced a dire situation when he suffered a cardiac arrest at the gym. Thanks to the swift actions of a family member and the specialized skills of a rapid-response team from The Alfred and Ambulance Victoria, he was given another chance at life.

Hugh, a father of two, joins a select group of only 19 individuals in Melbourne who have undergone ECMO, a life-saving intervention, outside of a hospital setting, all due to a groundbreaking trial in Victoria.

ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, serves as a surrogate for a patient’s heart and lungs when these organs fail, by redirecting blood through an external machine. Traditionally, this procedure is only available in specialized hospital settings.

Dr. Sacha Richardson, co-lead of the trial and specialist at Alfred’s ICU, explained that while CPR and defibrillation are vital in responding to cardiac arrests, the chances of survival drop significantly if the heart cannot be restarted within 30 minutes. “We aim to change that with ECMO,” Dr. Richardson emphasized.

Dr. Aidan Burrell, an ICU physician who was among the first responders, expressed his delight at seeing Hugh’s progress. “He is incredibly motivated and following all the necessary steps for recovery. It’s heartening to witness his substantial improvement,” Dr. Burrell remarked.

Source: Alfred Hospital

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