‘He’s not breathing’: 000 call as workmate died on floor

 

Jaime Estrella remembers feeling hot as he worked, spray-painting a car in a small, stuffy room.

And then nothing for 10 days - just a strange dream where he was walking and walking to a destination that kept moving out of reach.

He doesn't remember the triple-0 call his workmate Tallen made, or the CPR he did as an operator counted out the rhythm over the phone.

And he doesn't remember the team of paramedics who arrived within minutes, who came with a mechanical device that would pump his heart and keep him alive until a specialised cardiac team wheeled him into surgery.

 

 

Yesterday, he met the team that saved his life.

"You're part of my life now," he told them.

Mr Estrella, 49, is a medical milestone - one of the first Queenslanders to be brought back to life using a mechanical chest compression device - a new addition to the Queensland Ambulance Service's repertoire.

The machine, which simulates CPR, can be strapped on to a patient and will continue working even as they are lifted onto a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance.

It frees up paramedics to perform other lifesaving procedures and means compressions are always effective - even in the back of a moving vehicle.

Jaime Estrella, 49 of Slacks Creek, reunited with QAS first responding crew that helped save his life – Sonia Wu and Marina Giannaros. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Jaime Estrella, 49 of Slacks Creek, reunited with QAS first responding crew that helped save his life – Sonia Wu and Marina Giannaros. Picture: Liam Kidston.

QAS cardiac co-ordinator Brett Rogers said Mr Estrella was the perfect candidate for the device because his workmate saw him collapse and immediately began CPR.

"For Jaime, from the triple-0 call, through to the first responders, through to our critical care paramedics, through to the hospital and the Cath Lab and the ICU, it all lined up," he said.

Mr Rogers said QAS and hospital staff had run scenarios using the compression device - introduced about six months ago - "like a pit crew".

Mr Estrella collapsed at work on October 26, days after complaining of chest pain that had then mysteriously disappeared.

Within minutes, eight QAS staff had arrived at the Tingalpa business, including critical care paramedics and even medical director Dr Stephen Rashford.

Wynnum-based critical care paramedic Bob Birmingham said Mr Estrella "came back from the dead" before they'd strapped the compression machine on, but crashed again once they'd loaded him into the ambulance.

"And that's when we started the machine," he said.

"We probably did compressions for about an hour - and 45 minutes of that was using the machine."

Paramedics also delivered more than 20 shocks with a defibrillator before they arrived at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Jaime Estrella, with QAS crew Rick Smith and Bob Birmingham and their mechanical chest compression device. Picture: Liam Kidston
Jaime Estrella, with QAS crew Rick Smith and Bob Birmingham and their mechanical chest compression device. Picture: Liam Kidston

 

"On his second day in hospital, one of the ICU doctors explained about his condition, listing the worst case scenarios - he might be in a coma, he might have brain damage, he might lose his memory," Mr Estrella's wife Amie said.

"(They said) his life is in danger. He is in a critical condition.

"Every day when I visited him, every day I asked the nurse or the doctor, when will he wake up and every day they said, we don't know."

Mr Estrella woke after 10 days and would spend 35 days in hospital recovering. Recently, he got the all-clear to return to work.

Amie cried as she thanked the people who saved his life.

"You did not give up on him. You all did your best," she said.

 

 

Originally published as 'He's not breathing': Dramatic 000 call as workmate died on floor


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