Quick thinking saves Ballarat man's life

Lifesavers: Allan Robertson, centre, with Glenn White and Tess Flood, who saved his life. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE
Lifesavers: Allan Robertson, centre, with Glenn White and Tess Flood, who saved his life. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

HEART attack survivor Allan Robertson has two shopping centre workers to thank for saving his life. 

The 78-year-old got his chance to thank them on Friday at the very place he had his brush with death.

Just over a month ago Mr Robertson collapsed in cardiac arrest at Stockland Wendouree. Mercifully, 20-year-old Kmart team member Tess Flood and 34-year-old security guard Glenn White took prompt action.

First, they applied CPR and then used one of the shopping centre’s two defibrillators to kick Mr Robertson’s heart back into a normal rhythm.

On Friday, Ms Flood and Mr White were recognised with an Ambulance Victoria commendation after they were nominated by Ballarat’s acting MICA team leader Mark Brown.

Ms Flood said she had learnt first aid by completing a course and, despite the pressure of the situation, those skills came to the fore. 

“To be honest, it was a blur,” she said. “When you see someone in that state, the skills just kick in.

“I remember having 000 on the phone telling me what to do when I swapped with Glenn doing CPR. Then centre management brought the defibrillator down to us.

“Using the defibrillator was not too difficult. The machine talks to you and tells you what to do.”

Mr White, who has worked as a security guard at Stockland Wendouree for 14 months, had also completed first aid training as part of his security training.

He admitted he never expected to use it.

Mr Brown said the process of using a defibrillator was comparatively simple, but applying it in an emergency took courage.

“It is starting to happen more often,” he said. “It is still not a common occurrence, but we’d like to see it become more common. 

“When someone goes into cardiac arrest, survivability is dramatically improved with a defibrillator – the quicker the better. That’s where Tess and Glenn did such a good job.”

As for Mr Robertson, the Miners Rest resident feels that much safer knowing there are people out there with the skill and courage to react in an emergency.

“I feel a lot better than a month ago,” he said. “I don’t remember much of it at all.

“But I feel terrific being able to thank these people. If it hadn’t been for them I would not be able to be here to thank them.”