St John recognises lifesaving heroes

Press Release

The Governor of Western Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, will today present Community Hero Awards, Meritorious Service Awards, St John Ambulance National Medals, as well as recognise the outstanding efforts of St John Ambulance WA staff and volunteers at the Recognition Ceremony at Government House.

Community Hero Awards are presented to those who have displayed exceptional judgement, bravery and skill to deliver care to someone during a medical emergency.

The Meritorious Service Awards are presented to St John staff who have gone above and beyond the call off duty and shown exceptional courage, resourcefulness and expertise.

St John Chief Executive Officer Michelle Fyfe said each of the award winners had delivered outstanding first aid often in difficult circumstances.

“The efforts of these people have either saved a life or prevented further injury and all are thoroughly deserving of this recognition,” Ms Fyfe said.

Ms Fyfe said St John is committed to making first aid a part of everyone’s life.

“The more people who are trained, the better the health outcomes for the community,” she said.

A panel of prominent West Australians from the media and health arena undertook the difficult task of selecting the Community Hero award winners.

This event is also an opportunity to formally acknowledge the professional achievements of operational staff, congratulate graduating paramedics and welcome new student ambulance officers into St John. Tributes are also paid to individuals who have served with distinction over a sustained period of time.

“The Recognition ceremony is an incredibly proud day for everyone and I am proud to be here to celebrate all these incredible achievements,” Ms Fyfe said.

List of award winners below:

Community Hero: Bailey Parker

It was late in the evening when 8 year old Bailey went to check on his mother. She had been unwell with a serious infection and had just been to the GP that day. Bailey was concerned when that evening he noticed his mum start to behave oddly and become increasing confused. When he looked in on her he knew something was very wrong.

He went to call his grandmother for help only to find his mum’s phone was locked. Realising she needed immediate attention he used the emergency triple zero number to call for an ambulance.

Paramedics arrived to find his mum lying on the floor in an altered conscious state. If Bailey had not proactively called for an ambulance his mum would have been lying on the floor all night until his Grandma came to check on them the next day. It was discovered his mum had sepsis, a serious condition that can sometimes be fatal if immediate medical intervention is not sought. Bailey’s foresight to seek medical attention immediately, could very well have saved his Mother’s life.

Community Heroes: Matthew Percy and Jay Hoskins

“Legends” is how Alex Travaglini described the surfers that came to his aid. Alex was surfing with mates at a popular spot in Gracetown in the South West when he felt something grab his leg. Immediately the struggle began as Alex fought to fend off a frenzied shark who continued to attack.

Two nearby surfers saw what was happening and went to help. Matt Percy and Jay Hoskins rushed to help get Alex to shore. While dragging him out of the water, they applied tourniquets with their board’s leg ropes, stemming the bleeding.

Thanks to the selfless, quick thinking actions of Matt and Jay, Alex survived his ordeal and is now home again with his loved ones.

Perhaps Alex said it best; “I reckon if it wasn’t for the fact that they came to my aid it would’ve been a very different story. I’m lucky to be alive. Thank you guys.”

Community Hero: Mackenzie Summers

Dawn De Cesare and her six year old granddaughter Mackenzie Summers were waiting in the underground carpark of her apartment for a salesman to deliver her car, when just as the salesman was arriving, all the lights in the car park went out and it was completely black.

Unable to see, Dawn tripped and fell hard to the ground. Having osteoporosis, Dawn’s injuries were more acute, she was in severe pain with a broken hip and arm, lying awkwardly on the ground and unable to move.

The representative from the car retailer panicked not knowing what to do so Mackenzie took charge. She tried calling triple 000 on her grandmother’s phone but the reception in the basement carpark was too bad. She gave him her grandmother’s full address, name and phone number to pass on to the call centre and directed him to wait in a visible location so he could direct the ambulance to the car park when it arrived.

Dawn was in a lot of distress but Mackenzie, despite being afraid of the dark, remained calm. She put her legs under her grandmother’s head, stroked her hair and reassured her that help was coming.

When the ambulance arrived Dawn was in so much pain she was intermittently losing consciousness. Dawn required extensive surgery and is still recovering, but is in awe of the maturity and common sense her six year old granddaughter showed in the face of such a challenging situation.

Community Hero: Scott Moorehead

39 weeks pregnant, Bianca started experiencing the early stages of labour, so her and her husband set off on the 50 minute drive from Kambalda to the closest hospital in Kalgoorlie. Her contractions quickly became more painful and more frequent. They were only half way to their destination when Bianca yelled for her husband to pull over because the baby was coming – ready or not.

There on the side of the road, in the dark, Scott was tasked with the job of delivering his baby. Under instruction from the ambulance call taker he was directed on what he needed to do. Before long the baby’s head was out and then Scott found himself literally left holding the baby.

The call taker gave further instructions and asked him to check the breathing status. Alarmingly, Scott realised the newborn was not breathing. Scott was instructed on how to do recue breaths and chest compressions – every parent’s worst nightmare. Thankfully by the second round of resuscitation their baby boy started breathing.

Paramedics were required to do further treatment while on road to the hospital but Scott’s initial resuscitation was pivotal to the outcome. Baby Kade is now a fit and healthy little addition to the family.

Community Hero: Trent Mettam

While on patrol as a ranger in the town of Kununurra, Trent witnessed a vehicle reverse across the road, hitting an unsuspecting three year old boy before crashing in to a property.

Trent ran over to check on the boy and found him in a critical condition. He administered first aid and knowing he needed urgent treatment, put him in his car to rush him to hospital.

However on the way he noticed Kylen stop breathing. Trent pulled over and commenced CPR. Thankfully Trent was able to get him breathing again and got him to the hospital. He was later flown to Perth for major surgery. Kylen has since made a great recovery.

Emergency services who investigated the incident said that Kylen may well not have survived if Trent hadn’t been on the scene at that exact time, with the skills to provide lifesaving first aid and resuscitation.

Meritorious Award: Cathy Fisher

Avery (67 year old) was on a four wheel motorbike mustering cattle on their farm. She attempted to ride up a steep incline made of loose rock and gravel when the front wheels of the bike lifted and she fell backwards onto the hard ground. She was unable to move and was in excruciating pain. Eventually her husband, who was mustering nearby, found her and raced back to the house to call for help.

Bindoon volunteer ambulance officer Cathy Fisher was one of the first responders on the scene. She had to walk approximately 20 metres down a steep, uneven slope carrying all her equipment. When she got to Avery she was in terrible pain and was unable to move. Cathy administered clinical care and called for the rescue helicopter. They managed to carry the patient down on a scoop stretcher, load her onto the back of a 4WD and transport her to the nearby rescue helicopter where she was flown to Royal Perth Hospital.

Avery ended up with a leg fracture, hip and pelvic injuries. Her husband said Cathy displayed exceptional judgement, professionalism, knowledge and skill in providing care and ensuring no further injury occurred. She ensured the necessary extra assistance was called and kept Avery calm and reassured which was important as she had a pre-existing medical condition.

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