Collaborative response saves life at Craigie Leisure Centre

26 March 2022

In March last year, Pool Supervisor Robbie McNeill’s Thursday shift at the City of Joondalup’s Craigie Leisure Centre was travelling as per usual when he received a radio call from lifeguard Ryan Humphries that a patron had collapsed on the pool deck. 

Robbie, who was first responder to the incident followed by Ryan, noticed that the patron had a significant laceration to the head. “My first thought was ‘this does not look good,” said Robbie. “I could tell the patient was not breathing and immediately went into DRSABCD and made the ‘Code Blue’ call to staff and stated my location and need of assistance before commencing CPR.” 

Commencing CPR, Robbie and Ryan were shortly joined by their lifeguard colleagues Caitlin Anthony, Maddi Earnshaw and Georgia Radley-Kohrs who cleared the area and brought emergency equipment to assist Robbie and Ryan. As the resuscitation process continued, three patrons Serena MacPherson, Halima Olakareem and Christina Gardiner approached to further support the lifeguard team, maintaining Stuart’s airway and rotating with the lifeguard team whilst Robbie and Maddi administered the defibrillator. 

A total of seven shocks were administered during the 20-minute resuscitation as they waited for emergency services to arrive. Once the ambulance arrived, the team continued to perform CPR whilst the paramedics performed other lifesaving actions. Stuart began to regain his consciousness during this process before being taken to the hospital for further treatment. 

Robbie stated that his training had helped him in his response to the situation, with the hours of rigorous training and education he had completed up until this point all being put to the test during the incident. “My colleagues would agree that without the training the outcome would have been very different,” said Robbie. “The training and experience I had carried out allowed me to not only make the correct lifesaving calls but conduct an efficient response to this incident with emergency personnel, other patrons utilising the facility, staff and, importantly, the patient. 

The exceptional collaborative response between the aquatic staff, who reacted quickly to this emergency in line with their training, and the patrons who stepped in to assist, ultimately saved Stuart’s life. Their extraordinary response was commended at the most recent Bravery Awards, with Robbie, Maddi and Georgia receiving a Gold Star, Ryan and Caitlin a Bravery Commendation, and Serena, Halima and Christina a Gold Medallion. 

It’s reassuring to know that should something go wrong at Craigie Leisure Centre, the more than 1.5 million visitors each year are in the hands of highly trained professionals like Ryan, Robbie, Caitlin, Maddison and Georgia,” praised City of Joondalup CEO James Pearson. “I also want to thank our patrons who helped save a life. It is rewarding to know that people in our community respond so well when others are in need.”

The CPR and first aid training completed by the lifesaving team afforded them with the essential skills to respond in this emergency and save a life. “Whether it is a loved one or a stranger, the truth is that these incidents can happen at any time, anywhere and to anyone,” said Robbie. “Having the training truly can be the difference between life and death and I know I would much rather have the training and not need it than to need it and not have it.” 

Royal Life Saving WA commends the extraordinary efforts of these community members whose efforts and actions helped to save another’s life. If you know of anyone deserving of a Bravery Award, you can nominate them at the link below. 

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