Trigg Island SLSC – Mike Deephouse, Mike Cook, Peter Taylor, Darren Mills, Vanessa Barby
Scarboro SLSC – John Hardbattle
Public – Mark Barlow
On Sunday 20 August, Les Lindsay emerged from the icy water of Trigg Beach, Western Australia, after competing in the weekly Blue Hole club swim. He lined up ready to have his position in the race registered and name ticked off.
Michael ‘Cookie’ Cook first knew something was wrong when he heard Mike Deephouse shout “get the oxy [Oxygen Resuscitation Equipment]!”
“Mike, Mike I’m going down!” Les told him before collapsing.
Mike’s medic background and 16 years of experience as a surf lifesaver allowed him to quickly assess the situation and put Les into the recovery position. He called on ‘Cookie’ to get the oxygen resuscitation equipment.
Vanessa Barby called for ambulance help immediately, and continued to communicate throughout the entire incident.
Oxygen therapy was applied as Les’ breathing faltered. From Mike’s experience, it appeared Les was about to have a seizure and as Les exhaled a final breath, he commenced CPR.
Mike simultaneously coordinated the other Blue Hole swimmers to assist with CPR. John Hardbattle, the Trigg Beach Inspector, had quickly arrived and took over the chest compressions from Mark Barlow, working in tandem with Darren Mills.
Peter Taylor retrieved the defibrillator and applied the pads on Les’ chest as CPR continued.
The crucial moment arrived as the defibrillator began the assessment routine. The CPR ceased, oxygen was removed, and the first shock was delivered to Les’ chest. Les didn’t respond. After a quick assessment, the ventilation and compressions continued.
Les’ partner Toni, was looking on and being comforted by Mark Barlow, a psychiatric nurse and former member of Trigg holidaying in the area.
After the second, and then third defibrillation shock, Mike’s was telling himself to prepare for the worst.
Shortly after the third shock was delivered, the paramedics arrived. Les was still unconscious, but breathing on his own. The paramedics delivered higher levels of care and Les was gently transported back up the beach to the Trigg clubhouse, and into the waiting ambulance.
“It was one of the hardest resuscitations I have done,” said Mike.
“If the patient doesn’t respond to the first defib shock, they usually won’t respond to any subsequent ones.”
Three days later, Les was joking with visitors, and despite the severely cracked and broken ribs, the doctors had given him the all clear.
Mike said that the team on the beach pulled together like clockwork and they knew that they had to do to perform to the best of their abilities.
The miraculous revival of Les was due to everyone working together and applying their trained skills.