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The prompt actions of a group of Bondi surf lifesavers in assisting an elderly man who had suffered a cardiac episode in April have been recognised with the NSW Rescue of the Month Award.

On Saturday 7 April 2018, the team from Bondi Surf Bathers Lifesaving Club were midway through their morning patrol when they were called upon to go to the aid of an elderly man who had collapsed, face down, on the sand.

It was shortly before 11:30am when the patrol team were alerted by members of the public that a 70-year-old man appeared to be in some distress.

Fortunately, the incident occurred approximately 50 metres south of the main patrol tent, and within moments the lifesavers were on scene where a member of the public was attempting to roll the stricken man over.

The team of lifesavers immediately went to work. While Neil Collins commenced radio communications with the State Operations Centre, Belinda Hartmann and Kim Dekker placed the man in the recovery position to check for responsiveness and signs of breathing.

A fourth member of the team, Kat Scevity, was next to arrive with oxygen, at which point Neil relinquished control of the radios to Phil Schacht, who called for the defibrillator.  Neil swiftly prepared the bag-valve-mask for oxygen administration, with the help Rozanne Green, and Kim took over compressions from the member of the public.

An ambulance was requested and young SRC member Alicia Vaughn was dispatched to go and await its arrival.

After only a few rounds of compressions, Belinda applied the defibrillator pads, before a shock was advised and administered.  Kat stepped in to perform compressions to relieve Kim.  A doctor who happened to be passing by also came to the aid of the man, and took over compressions as the defibrillator performed a second analysis. 

A shockable rhythm could not be detected this time, so the team continued to perform compressions, whilst checking for breathing.  After a very tense minute, the gentleman showed faint signs of breathing, and this was confirmed by both the doctor and Neil.

The patient’s vital signs and responsiveness were continually monitored and by the time the paramedics arrived he had recovered enough to be breathing unassisted. 

After being stabilised by the attending paramedics, the patient was transported to hospital for further treatment.

Patrol captain Belinda Hartmann said the successful resuscitation effort was as a result of a solid foundation gained from training.

“The rescue was a testament to the power of the strong history of training at Bondi, and I think the rescue was a great demonstration of the chain of survival,” said Belinda.

“The CPR progressed so smoothly because we had lifesavers effectively managing the public around us, and the rest of the team were keeping the thousands of others on the beach safe while we were occupied!”

She said that while it was a stressful event, the support received from the club has been amazing.

“There were definitely some tears of happy relief immediately after the gentleman left the beach breathing and responsive.  Besides the happiness, excitement and relief that the gentleman was alive, I'm sure more than a couple of us would have, at some stage, exclaimed something along the lines of “Wow, that CPR actually works!,” she said.

Without their timely intervention of these Bondi lifesavers the outcome for the patient on the beach could have been very different.

The SLSNSW Rescue of the Month is a prestigious award that recognises excellence in Surf Life Saving. Each month a ‘Rescue of the Month’ is awarded at State level for the most outstanding rescue performance for that period. Monthly winners are eligible for the National Rescue of the Month, and are also in line to be named the NSW Rescue of the Year which is announced at the season-ending Awards of Excellence.

LIFESAVERS INVOLVED: Belinda Hartmann (Patrol Captain), Phil Schacht (Vice Captain), Neil Collins, Kim Dekker, Katherine Scevity, Rozanne Green, Jane Gilbert, and Joanne Robinson


Tuesday 5 June 2018