Zero Harm beyond the workplace
Community heroes: Bis leader and son save a life
It was the drive home from parent-teacher meetings at his son’s school in February 2017, but it will forever stay fresh in Scott McFarlane’s mind as the time he watched his 15 year old son save a stranger's life.
Stanley was awarded the Bronze Medallion for Courage in May, recognising his skills and selfless actions that revived an unconscious lady. “We drove past this car on the side of the road. It didn’t click with me until we were about 50 metres past the car, but there was a lady lying on the edge of the road and an elderly gent with her – it just didn’t look right,” Scott recalled.
“There was no-one else around, so we backed up the quiet suburban street, wound down the window and asked, ‘Are you okay?’.”
“The elderly guy just said, ‘She’s non-responsive – what do I do?’
Stanley, who is trained in CPR, jumped out to help and Scott rang triple-zero.
“Stanley had just completed his Bronze Medallion through school and he’d also started training as a St John’s Ambulance Cadet – he wants to be a doctor.”
Stanley went to the lady, removed her handbag from across her body and rolled her into the recovery position. He checked for a pulse – it was really faint, but she wasn’t breathing.
“I was on the phone to the Ambulance and Stanley rolled the lady back and started CPR.”
“He was like clockwork.”
The lady soon took one breath and Stanley rolled her back to the recovery position, Scott was relaying her condition to the triple-zero attendant who advised that she wasn’t breathing sufficiently, so Stanley rolled her on her back and started CPR again.
“He did the compressions for 7 or 8 minutes.”
“I remember another parent coming over and asking if we needed the defibrillator from the school – we didn’t know if she’d had a heart attack or what, so someone ran to get it.”
They sent two Ambulances – Scott said they took about 12 or 15 minutes, but by the time they arrived the lady had started breathing for herself and was trying to talk.
“The Ambulances took over, we gave our details and pretty much went home. She seemed fine when she left in the Ambulance.”
Stanley’s teacher nominated him for the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Bronze Medallion for Courage. It was presented on May 5th 2017 by Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan at the Coastal Bravery Awards, recognising individuals whose selfless acts of bravery make the WA Coastline a safer place.
It was as an immensely proud father that Scott first shared the lifesaving story with his Osborne Park colleagues as a team safety share in the days following the incident.
“When it was all happening I remember thinking - I’m glad he knows his stuff. He’s smart, he’s done the training. He is the one best equipped to do this.
“I could have done it, but he had it in hand.”
Scott said the lady had apparently just left a palliative care facility that was at the end of the road. She was there to see her husband but was distraught and went for a walk when she suddenly collapsed – she’d blacked out from stress. The elderly gent was a friend or neighbour who had brought her down from the far northern suburbs to see her husband.
“It was a relief to see that she was okay, but the best part is being able to talk about this and for people to realise that we need to keep our skills fresh. The things that we learn at work, through sport or other activities really can save lives.
“It proves that you can need those skills at anytime and anywhere.”
Scott said this was especially important in the environments that we work in and while we do all we can to eradicate hazards, things can happen that we can’t control or that may not even involve us.
Scott is Bis Industries’ Group Manager of Engineering and Process Compliance and Stanley is in Year 11 at Christ Church Grammar in Perth. (May 2017)