Chance of another Nullarbor road trip thanks to St John WA paramedics’ quick response
- Perth man James Mau, 66, suffered chest pains and limited breathing on the morning of July 23.
- Mr Mau’s daughter Julie Ames rang Triple Zero (000) and an ambulance arrived under 10 minutes.
- Chest pains are Triple Zero (000) emergencies.
If he lived to see another day, Perth man James Mau swore he would make a 1250 kilometre trek to Tjukayirla Roadhouse in the Goldfields to buy his favourite T-Shirt after the original was cut from his body in the back of a St John ambulance.
Thankfully, ambulance officer Simon Minton and paramedic Gabe Rumble not only saved Mr Mau’s life but also the fuel, with Simon gifting the shirt at Mr Mau’s northern suburbs home this week, to cries of delight from his family.
Despite being a seasoned camper who knows the dangers of breaking down alone, Mr Mau left himself with not much fuel in his tank one morning in July, according to daughter Julie Ames.
Mr Mau was suffering chest pains with limited breathing when he woke at home on July 23 but waited until after 11 o’clock to call for help.
It turned out the left side of his heart had stopped pumping properly and 14 litres of fluid were on his lungs due to his chronic bronchitis being inflamed from an earlier virus.
Instead of ringing Triple Zero (000), he rang Ms Ames who instantly got on to a St John Triple Zero (000) call-taker and an ambulance at her 66-year-old father’s home in less than 10 minutes.
“Simon and Gabe were only minutes behind me, it was super quick as dad didn’t have a lot left in him,” Ms Ames said.
“It was horrible to see, but those guys were just amazing that day.
“I held it together until the ambulance arrived but then I was brought undone and cried.”
Under lights and sirens, Mr Mau was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital’s cardiac unit.
“I was pretty low on the list of priorities but afterward Simon came to check on me outside the hospital,” Ms Ames said.
Mr Mau’s wife Karen, who was in Queensland at the time, said she was so grateful for the quick actions of St John and her daughter because had she been home, the call for medical help wouldn’t have taken so long.
“When I found out, I could have killed him,” she said jokingly.
Afterward, Ms Ames wrote a letter to St John and a poem expressing her gratitude for her father’s saviours.
For Simon, being able to reunite with his patient was a rare and precious Christmas gift, only topped by the birth of his second child, who was due the following week.
“It’s really quite special to get your feedback because normally we just drop people off at hospital and never learn what becomes of them,” he told Mr Mau.
St John WA receives almost 290,000 emergency Triple Zero (000) calls a year of which a small but significant portion are Priority 1 (critically ill) cardiac patients.
And like Mr Mau, many of those patients are at home alone, making them more vulnerable to not getting the life-saving help they need.
St John WA Executive Director of Ambulance Operations Deon Brink urged anyone experiencing chest pains to call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
“When it comes to the heart, every minute counts and there should be no question about whether to call Triple Zero (000) for assistance,” Mr Brink said.
“Our call-takers are medically trained and they will guide you until paramedics arrive.”
Mr Mau, who is a retired fly-in fly-out mine worker, is awaiting the medical all clear from his doctor before he and his wife begin their ninth trek across the Nullarbor to visit his family in Queensland.
They have committed to stopping at the Great Australian Bight, as every earlier attempt has been hampered by car trouble, and they assured Simon that this time, they won’t take any chances – medically or mechanically.