Mandurah teen receives prestigious Commonwealth award

21 October 2021

Each year Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth bestows the Russell Medal on one young person across the Commonwealth, for the most outstanding resuscitation, or attempted resuscitation, by a person under 18 years of age. The Russell Medal was established in 2000 as a tribute to Pat Russell, a long time member of the Royal Life Saving Society.

Megan Larmour received a Royal Life Saving WA Bravery Award in 2019 and was subsequently successfully nominated for the Russell Medal.

Megan was just 16 years old when she was alerted to an emergency while having breakfast at a café in Mandurah. A man had suffered a heart attack in the shopping centre carpark and collapsed. Trained in first aid due to her job as a lifeguard, Megan says she immediately ran to the carpark and began to check the condition of the man. “Someone came in and asked if anyone knew first aid because there was a guy in the car park that’s collapsed. Nobody else put their hand up, so I put my hand up because I was a lifeguard. He was just laying on the floor, so I checked him out and he was not breathing or conscious. It was all a bit of a blur, to be honest,” she said.

After being unable to detect a pulse she began performing CPR on the victim. A staff member from a nearby business arrived with a defibrillator and Megan cut the man’s clothing and applied the defibrillator, shocking him twice while continuing to perform compressions with the help of another bystander. “For me, I just put the emotions aside and tried not to think about the fact he has a wife and probably got kids. If you let those things take over, you won’t be able to help anyone. We found out we had got him back, but because he was unconscious so long there was severe brain damage” said Megan.

The man was taken to hospital where he was placed into an induced coma, but sadly passed away later. However, the prompt application of CPR and the AED meant his family was able to say goodbye, and also ensured that his organs remained viable so his family was able to donate them to save the lives of others.

At just 16 years old, Megan demonstrated great leadership and persistence in attempting to save this man’s life and we are pleased to have been able to present her with such a prestigious award in the Russell Medal.

Megan says receiving the award is a real honour, but the whole incident has had a much larger impact on her life. "I'm so grateful and proud to receive the award, it's such an amazing thing. The incident has shaped me into the person I am. I'm in my second year of a nursing degree so it definitely inspired me in what I want to do and that helping people is something that I'm passionate about."

For Megan the Bravery Awards are an event that can highlight the importance of learning first aid for everyone in the community. "It is one of the most important things you can do. Just knowing those basic skills, it can literally be the matter of someone's life or not. You never know when you're going to need it."

Do you know someone who has stepped in to save, or attempt to save someone’e life? We’d love to be able to give them the recognition they deserve. You can nominate them for a Bravery Award at the link below.

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