Don’t miss a beat for Restart a Heart Week
- Mark Pascual is a St John WA Urgent Care nurse whose sudden cardiac arrest first aid training and use of a defibrillator saved the life of a restaurant patron.
- His story can be found in St John’s Land of Legends book, which aims to inspire the next generation of first responders.
- St John WA is raising awareness for the nine in 10 lives that can still be saved with greater first aid resourcing during Restart a Heart Week, starting October 16, and Shocktober.
St John WA Urgent Care nurse Mark Pascual knew the importance of every heartbeat when he found himself saving the life of a restaurant patron having a sudden cardiac arrest.
Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency when someone is not responding and not breathing normally. Only one in 10 people survive sudden cardiac arrest.
Mr Pascual followed the life-saving steps in first aid and used an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on the patient which, coupled with CPR, delivered the vital shock needed in the first minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest.
“It’s very crucial for a lot of people to know how to do compressions or even basic CPR,” Mr Pascual said.
“Like in my story, it happened in the restaurant and if it wasn’t for my colleagues, myself and another bystander helping, we could have missed some of the DRS ABCD steps which improves a patient’s chance of survival.
DRS ABCD stands for Danger, Response, Send for help, Airways, Breathing, CPR (chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth) and Defibrillation.
First aid forms the vital first three links in the ‘Chain of Survival’ – call Triple Zero (000) for help, start bystander CPR and use an AED while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
For every one minute of delay when a casualty needs a defibrillator, the chances of survival go down by 10 per cent.
“A big part of the St John training for first aid and basic CPR actually includes lessons on how to use an AED,” Mr Pascual said.
“It’s a simple machine that tells you what to do – it gives you instructions. But it really helps a lot and it’s crucial to apply it before the ambulance arrives.”
This Restart a Heart Week, starting October 16, and month of Shocktober, remember Mark’s story as it could happen to anyone.
His story was part Land of Legends, a children’s book written by local author Deb Fitzpatrick and recently launched by St John, which aims to inspire the next generation to help others in need and the importance of building strong communities.
All proceeds from Land of Legends book sales will go to St John Giving, which supports charitable works including the installation of public AEDs in remote regional communities. You can learn more at stjohnwa.com.au/legends
Land of Legends partial exert:
After two minutes of compressions the defibrillator tells them
to stop and reads the patient’s heart rate again. Another shock
is needed, and Mark gives it.
Mark pumps the man’s chest for another two long minutes and
his anonymous helper delivers two crucial rescue breaths every
It’s not been long, but it feels it has, and finally the ambulance
and paramedics arrive and work alongside Mark, Jacob and Lisa,
connecting the sick man to a cardiac monitor.
And once again, they halt compressions so the heart’s rhythm can
be read. And this time they see a pulse wave on the monitor—the
patient is alive!
Mark has an amazing gift for his mum the next day—the story
of him helping to save a life. He says that if he can give a person
another breath or another chance of life, even for a day, he’ll
do it in a heartbeat.