Teresa Search

Teresa Search

When Teresa Search attended a St John first aid refresher course, she had no idea that she’d be using her skills to save a life within a couple of days.

“Our tutor prepared us so the skills we learnt could be used in the real world. At the end of the training he asked us to keep in touch and give him feedback when we used them,” Teresa recalls.

Forty-eight hours after the course, her skills were tested. While on night duty at her workplace, the Petone Working Men’s Club, a club patron collapsed in cardiac arrest.

“Luckily I saw him go down and I was at his side very quickly. Everything that I had just re-learned amazingly came to mind in an instant.”

Teresa quickly assessed the situation. There were no signs of life, so she turned him on his back, told a staff member to get the club’s defibrillator.and asked another bystander to call an ambulance.  The Petone Working Men’s Club had purchased an automatic external defibrillator (AED) several years ago from St John, in an effort to help staff and patrons in exactly this type of situation.

“A committee member and I started CPR. Once the defibrillator arrived, another first aider hooked it up while we kept going,” Teresa remembers.

When the AED was positioned and ready to treat the patient, two shocks were administered. The man showed some signs of life, but was unable to maintain adequate breathing. Teresa continued with resuscitation breathing until the Fire Service and an ambulance arrived.

Teresa estimates an ambulance crew spent a further 30 to 40 minutes stabilising the patient before he was able to be transported to hospital.

“I called the hospital early the following morning and was relieved to be told that he was doing okay and that his name was Graham. The nurse put him on the phone to talk to me. He told me that it was a lovely day to be alive. Hearing his voice was incredible.”

While Graham’s recovery is ongoing, following a quintuple bypass, Teresa's confidence in dealing with first aid scenario’s has grown.

“I want to thank St John, and in particular first aid tutor James Toaolamai, for the awesome training and advice I received. For myself, the staff on duty that night, our members and no doubt Graham, you guys truly rock!”

Teresa shared her story with on Television One’s current affairs programme.  During the story she was reunited with Graham and her first aid mentor James. 

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