Bud and Noela Pawczynski are counting their lucky stars after a near-death experience last year was averted by the work of Karratha’s volunteer ambulance officers.
The Derby-based couple were on their way back from Geraldton after visiting their first grandchild and had stopped in Karratha to refuel and catch up with a friend.
Mrs Pawczynski had gone to get a glass of water and came back to find her husband slumped over the table.
He had complained of sore shoulders earlier in the day.
Close friend Colin “Roey” Roe performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Mr Pawcynski until the ambulance arrived.
From there, he was taken to Nickol Bay Hospital, then to Royal Perth Hospital, where he remained in the intensive care unit for a month.
He was discharged on January 8 and the first port of call was Karratha to meet those involved in the incident.
Mrs Pawczynski said catching up with the ambulance crew recently had provided an opportunity to meet the people who had saved her husband’s life.
“At the time, I was too concerned about Bud to even think of conversing with them,” she said.
“Roey was really concerned, so they went around and saw him, which I thought was fantastic, and (St John paramedic) Dave (Abbott) also visited Bud at Royal Perth. Without them, you are buggered, aren’t you?”
Mr Roe said his CPR training, completed more than 10 years ago, had come flooding back.
“I never thought it would be necessary but on that day, it saved my mate’s life,” he said.
“About two days after the event, Dave dropped in to see how I was going ... and pretty quickly all three of the vollies turned up ... it is their own time, but they still came out to talk to me.”
Mr Abbott said Mr Roe’s actions likely saved his mate’s life.
“He did everything right — if he hadn’t done what he did, it would have been a bad outcome,” he said.
”Learning basic life support, which isn’t necessarily just CPR, to help until an ambulance can get there or get can make a big difference.
”The volunteers who made themselves available in good time... that was a real highlight.”
Mr Abbott said sharing the experience with everyone involved was a satisfying feeling.