Efforts fail to save local man
Only one thing went through dental nurse Julie De Vasconcelos' mind when she saw someone performing CPR on a man at St Heliers beach on January 11 - get the defibrillator.
She had been sunbathing but did not stop to put on her shoes. She ran straight to Unichem St Heliers Bay Pharmacy, grabbed the defibrillator kept there and ran back.
Miss De Vasconcelos handed it to the woman who was performing CPR on St Heliers Bay resident Wayne Samuels. Another man took out the pads and shocked him.
Shortly afterwards help arrived from St Heliers Bay Fire Station and St John. The beachgoers, firefighters and paramedics worked on Mr Samuels for just under an hour that afternoon but were unable to resuscitate him.
"Unfortunately in his case it didn't work but in different circumstances it could have saved someone's life," Miss De Vasconcelos says.
She's glad she knew exactly where to find the defibrillator, which had been donated to the community several years ago.
"It felt good that at least I did my little bit to try to help. It was really nice people pulled together. If I was in the same position I would love people to make that same effort for me."
St John paramedic Lisa Buckingham who attended says: "It was a combined effort and the nurse and firefighters did an outstanding job. Next time it might be different."
Mr Samuels was married to Shirley Samuels, the council representative for St Heliers Bay Village Association.
Village Association manager Wendy Caspersonn says: "The community really rallied around and tried to do their best for him. It is heartening to know people were willing to help."
Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson says: "It is a devastating start to the year. Shirley is a great asset to the business community of St Heliers. Our thoughts are with her in her time of sorrow."
Smartphone users can check the locations of publicly available defibrillators using the free application AED Locations.
East And Bays Courier