How one of Guy Leech's defibrillators saved a tradesman's life and why they should be mandatory

Defibrillator campaigner Guy Leech, Peter Ritchie, Jarrod Olsen and Scott Risson with the defibrillator that saved the life of a mate three weeks ago. Photo: MIchelle Haines Thomas
Defibrillator campaigner Guy Leech, Peter Ritchie, Jarrod Olsen and Scott Risson with the defibrillator that saved the life of a mate three weeks ago. Photo: MIchelle Haines Thomas

What could have been a tragic story was miraculously averted by some quick thinking and a life-saving conversation.

Three weeks ago, on a rural Kangaloon property on the NSW South Coast, a tradesman was felled by a heart attack.

That tradesman, builder Jarrod Olsen said he had decided to buy some defibrillators through Guy Leech after a conversation he had on the sidelines of a school sports carnival.

"I was talking with someone who had just got some defibrillators through Guy Leech and he put me onto Guy, and I purchased two," said Mr Olsen.

So when his employees Peter Ritchie and Scott Risson saw their mate drop to the ground, they had exactly the right piece of equipment with them to bring him back to life.

"When you see someone turn grey, all the colour is totally drained out of them, you have to act straight away - I mean, he was already gone," said Mr Ritchie.

"We took turns on it, we just wanted to keep it going - looking back it's all a blur," said Mr Risson.

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By the time the ambulance arrived, the defibrillator had done its job and Mr Olsen was alive again. He is presently recovering at home.

This is the winning scenario that Guy Leech - former Australian Ironman surf lifesaving champion, now fitness guru - would like to see replicated every time someone suffers from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in a school, workplace, gym or community club in Australia.

"It should be mandatory, like a fire extinguisher."

Guy Leech

"It should be mandatory, like a fire extinguisher," said Mr Leech.

"One hundred people die from a fire a year, but 100 people die every day from an electrical issue in their heart - it can be anyone, even if you're fit."

Through his company Heart180, Mr Leech is on a mission to change that.

"Whilst good diet, exercise and managing stress can reduce the incidence of heart disease, SCA can strike anyone, any time," says Mr Leech on his website.

"When it does, over 90 per cent of these people will die. Chances are the ambulance won't get there in that first three minutes. If a defib is put on the victim in that time we increase to the chance of survival to over 70 per cent."

He started the company after the death of a friend, Chucky, in 2016.

"My mate - who was fit and healthy - dropped in a fitness class I was taking," said Mr Leech.

"I learnt about defibs afterwards and I was shocked to learn I could have saved him."

Guy Leech

"I learnt about defibs afterwards and I was shocked to learn I could have saved him.

"I thought, if I didn't know this, then neither do other people - I've got to use my profile to change that."

The defibrillators - which cost about $2000 - are considered among the easiest to use on the market and, according to Mr Ritchie, 'idot-proof'.

"I don't think they could make it any better," he said.

"It simplified it to the point where you could use it under stress... I didn't have confidence in myself but the defibrillator helped me relax and just get on with it."

Mr Leech said that for most people, using a defibrillator occurs when they are facing a lifeless body for the first time in their life.

"When it's your first go, you don't know how you'll react," he said, going on to praise the lifesaving actions of the pair.

"The doctor said that he wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for these two, and Jarrod buying the defib."

To find out more about defibrillators and how to buy them go to HEART180.com.au

This story Defibrillators 'should be mandatory': How one saved a tradesman's life first appeared on Southern Highland News.