A Sydney electronics technician and father of three survived a cardiac arrest at Redfern railway station thanks to a state-of-the-art automated external defibrillator.
Doctors told the 52-year-old he had died seven times during his ordeal. But swift action by a RailCorp employee means the man will celebrate his 53rd birthday with family next month.
When Finland-born Harri Paananen used to fix defibrillators some 24 years
ago, he could not have known that one day they would save his life. But
that's exactly what happened after he started feeling ‘a bit crook’ at work
just before 11 AM on 30th April. Harri asked a workmate to drive him to
nearby Redfern station so he could take the rest of the day off and see a
“When we got to the station the pain got so severe I had to sit down,”
Harri said. “A cleaner saw me and said: ‘You don't look
well’. He took me to the station manager’s office where I met Tom
(Baghdadi). I asked Tom if I could sit down. But the pain got worse and I
said I needed to lie down. That's when things started to cloud over.”
In fact, Harri died there on the floor of the station manager's office. But
swift action by RailCorp station manager Tom Baghdadi saved Harri's life.
When Tom had asked Harri if he wanted an ambulance, Harri, who had
never been in a hospital in his life, said no. Then Harri's condition
deteriorated before Tom's eyes. So Tom rang an ambulance anyway. About
10 minutes later, Harri had a sudden cardiac arrest.
According to official reports, Harri, by this stage, had no pulse and was not
breathing. That was at 1105. Tom and transit police officer Paul Philipp
grabbed an automatic external defibrillator from a nearby room, opened it
and placed its pads on Harri just one minute later. Philipp commenced
CPR, and the AED quickly assessed the situation. By 1107 it had given Harri
his first automated shock. Paramedics arrived three minutes later.
Harri remembers very little of the ordeal.