Navy men save heart attack victim

16:00, Jan 22 2014
Navy Men
COMBINED SERVICES: Navy Lieutenants Daniel Wierenga and Lachlan Whelan helped St John ambulance crew Jamie Macaskill and Jono Milne save Bruce Baird’s life.

Two naval officers performed CPR to the rhythm of Row, row, row your boat on a roadside heart attack victim, helping save his life.

Bruce Baird "can't thank enough" the sailors, emergency services and a stranger who came to his rescue.

The 54-year-old Mairangi Bay resident was out for his morning run in Devonport just two weeks ago when he felt faint and crumpled after having a heart attack.

"I lay down on the grass and vomited.

"I knew I was in trouble," he says.

He managed to crawl on to James Titchener Pde and phoned 111 but had no idea what the name of the road was.


Luckily, an unidentified man stopped and told emergency services where to go.

The stranger had left by the time St John's paramedic Jamie Macaskill and ambulance officer Jono Milne arrived. It took 10 minutes to restart Mr Baird's heart but it would have taken longer if two navy officers hadn't showed up, Mr Macaskill says.

Lieutenants Lachlan Whelan and Daniel Wierenga were out on a run and offered to help when they saw the ambulance crew had its hands full.

"We could see things were escalating," Lieutenant Wierenga says.

"They asked us if we could do chest compressions and we were happy to lend a hand," he says.

"Things slowed down for us a bit" as they began CPR on Mr Baird.

The pair had been taught to keep rhythm to the song Row, row, row, your boat, Lieutenant Whelan says.

The medics had to shock Mr Baird six times and inject drugs before his heart re-started, Mr Macaskill says.

The sailors left when a fire crew showed up. Mr Baird was being treated at North Shore Hospital within half an hour.

His prompt rescue hastened his recovery and he was out of hospital after just four days and able to attend a commendation ceremony for the navy pair, with the St Johns crew in attendance.

Mr Baird's "grateful" partner Sophie Smith, who also attended, says she is still unable to express her full feelings about the experience.

"I've got drugs for Africa but I'm still alive," Mr Baird says.

The lieutenants received a commendation from the Deputy Chief of the Navy Commodore Dean Macdougal.

The men's actions "proves going for a run is good for your health", he says.

North Shore Times