In one heartbeat on 16 September Jonty’s life changed.
It all started when Jonty was hanging out the washing at his Martinborough home. When suddenly he fell to the floor. His step-daughter Hannah was in the kitchen and couldn’t see him. Her initial reaction was that Jonty was mucking around. But she questioned the silence. It felt awkward, so she went outside to investigate and found Jonty sprawled across the deck not breathing.
Hannah panicked and screamed for her step-sister, Missy, who came running. For these two young women it was an emotional moment. Jonty’s life was in their hands.
“We picked him up and laid him on the deck. I could see that he was turning blue; there was no movement in his chest. I went through my little checks – you’re not breathing, your airways are open but you need help now,” Hannah explains.
Jonty was extremely lucky that Hannah knew what had to be done and how to do it. She immediately got Missy to call 111 so she could start doing CPR.
“You never think you’ll be involved in something as serious as this. We just couldn’t lose him. Jonty has been such a big part of the last four years for me and mum – nothing else mattered in that moment, I was just like ‘you’re not dying with me here’.”
Hannah’s focus was on the CPR when the crew from Fire and Emergency NZ arrived followed by Wellington Free Ambulance Paramedics Andrew, Doug, Anne and Allan.
Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics got to work doing all they could to help Jonty survive; quickly and efficiently they managed to get Jonty’s heart to start beating in a rhythm that could keep him alive.
“We’re usually on the back foot and having to play catch up to improve the person’s condition before we get a successful heartbeat again. Excellent CPR, an early shock from an AED – especially with where Jonty lives – in our opinion the two most important things had already been done when we got there,” explains Paramedic Andrew.
Saving a life is about more than medicines and monitors; it’s about human decisions. Hannah had acted quickly and decisively. This highlights the importance of people knowing how to do CPR in our communities.
Today, Jonty is back at home with his family and is grateful that help was there.
“I’d like to think I have a lot of years left but that could have all been taken away. I’m really grateful that the support was there for me that day. I owe my life to everyone who helped me; I just can’t thank everyone enough,” Jonty says.