A team effort saves a life at a Perth aquatic centre

31 October 2017

It was a true team effort that saved Phil Prosser’s life in March 2017. While training for an Ironman with the Mongral Instinct Tri Group Swimming Squad at Craigie Leisure Centre, Phil stopped, clutched his chest and blacked out in the water.

Fellow swimmer Bob Edwards stopped immediately and propped Phil up. He called out to swimming coach, Matt Williams, and the two men lifted Phil out of the water. This raised the attention of lifeguard Jade macDonald, who radioed her supervisor, Rebecca Johnston. Rebecca ran to Phil with oxygen, while Jade raced to get the defibrillator and bring it to the outdoor 50-metre pool.

Mike Tindale, who is also a part of the swimming squad and a retired paramedic, commenced the primary survey of Phil and started CPR. He was joined by David Davies, an anaesthetist swimming a couple of lanes away.

They performed CPR until Rebecca arrived with the defibrillator and connected it up, while Jade went to meet the paramedics and directed them to Phil. Rebecca delivered three shocks with the defibrillator, until it registered that there was some signs of life and Phil was rolled into the recovery position. Phil had been unconscious for 14 minutes and was handed over to paramedics, who took him to hospital.

“I’ve been a lifeguard for seven years,” Rebecca explains. “Because of the regular training we do, I felt calm and didn’t panic. No one did – which is why it went like clockwork. It was good to walk away from the situation knowing that we’d done everything we could possibly do.”

Rebecca met Phil a couple of weeks later, after he returned to the pool with his wife and children. He explained that he had a heart condition that he was unaware of, and was so grateful to the six people who saved his life! 

The group recently received Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards for their efforts, with Jade and Rebecca awarded a Gold Star, while Bob, Mike, Matt and David were awarded a Gold Medallion.

Do you know someone who's saved a life? We'd love to recognise them at next year's Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards! Find out more at the link below.

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