Donna Cavanagh, gym manager Neil Moore, Warren and wife Georgina Woods, Paula Watkins.
Donna Cavanagh, gym manager Neil Moore, Warren and wife Georgina Woods, Paula Watkins.

‘LIFE OR DEATH’: Trio brings gym-goer back from dead

LESS than six weeks after suffering a near-fatal heart attack, Warren Woods has been reunited with the quick-thinking heroes who saved his life.

It was during an early morning workout at Flinders View's 12RND Fitness on January 8 when the "usually fit and healthy" man collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

His heart reportedly stopping for a total of seven minutes.

Despite just three others in attendance at the time, their impressive response during the crisis later proved crucial in Mr Woods' resuscitation.

Fortunately, gym manager Neil Moore and fellow patrons Paula Watkins and Donna Cavanagh had all been trained in CPR.

 

LIFESAVERS: Paula Watkins, Neil Moore and Donna Cavanagh helped saved Warren Woods’ life.
LIFESAVERS: Paula Watkins, Neil Moore and Donna Cavanagh helped saved Warren Woods’ life.

The group, along with the paramedics who helped saved Mr Woods, reunited for the first time since the ordeal at Ipswich's Queensland Ambulance station on Tuesday.

Mr Woods said he remembered nothing about the events which took place following his collapse during a light boxing exercise.

"I remember doing the first [station] and the second, after that the third one is the last thing I remember. There was no pain," he said.

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The three were quick to administer CPR as multiple Queensland Ambulance crews raced with lights and sirens to the scene.

"We all rushed over there, we ran over and put him in recovery and checked to see if he was responsive," Mr Moore said.

SECOND CHANCE: Warren and Georgina Woods at Ipswich’s Queensland Ambulance Station.
SECOND CHANCE: Warren and Georgina Woods at Ipswich’s Queensland Ambulance Station.

"It was very confronting, the clients we've got, we see them every day so you build relationships with them.

"Warren is one of those people you do talk with a lot, so seeing him go down like that was really hard."

Mr Wood's survival was dependent on the trio's manual resuscitation as the gym was not equipped with a defibrillator.

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"I don't know how it happened, but we all worked really well as a team, we all clicked into place and took on our roles," Mr Moore said.

"Even when we changed our roles it all happened so smoothly."

The father-of-two said he woke to learn of the ordeal at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, his wife of 36-years Georgina rushing to be by his side.

 

REUNITED: It was an emotional reunion for the group…
REUNITED: It was an emotional reunion for the group…

 

They soon learned just 25 per cent of his heart was functioning properly and a lifesaving triple bypass was required.

"It was very emotional, especially because COVID-19 [restrictions] had come in the night before, so all the restrictions had been put in at the hospital," she said.

"They saved his life, that's what the hospital basically told us, without all their help and the ambulance, he wouldn't be here today.

"We have second chance at life together, nothing's taken for granted anymore."

Mr Woods said he was feeling "really good" and was set to begin rehab soon.

"I've been up and probably on the walker since for two-and-half weeks now," he said.

 

Queensland Ambulance paramedic George Ohan was among multiple crews to respond.
Queensland Ambulance paramedic George Ohan was among multiple crews to respond.

 

Queensland Ambulance paramedic George Ohan said Mr Warren was lucky to be alive.

"They provided early and fantastic CPR, it's all part of a chain of survival and it puts us in better stead to manage these patients," he said.

Mr Ohan said he was an advocate was defibrillators and would like to see them become readily accessible to the public.

He said in some cases it would prove the difference between life and death.

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