Tony Killalea owes his life to first aid heroes

TONY Killalea reckons he was a “living time bomb” in the days leading up to what he now knows was his second heart attack.

The Elders Albury branch manager credits the quick actions of St John Ambulance members for saving his life when he was struck down last month while watching his daughter compete at the Albury-Wodonga Equestrian Centre.

“I was in the right place to get help that day,” Mr Killalea said.

Mr Killalea, 52, said he couldn’t work out on the day of his attack why he was sweating profusely.

“I started having palpitations and I broke out in a cold sweat,” he said.

“I told my wife I was going to the car to sit down but I didn’t make it that far.

“My symptoms got worse and I called her on the mobile and she ran to get help.”

That’s where St John Ambulance divisional sergeant Stafford Simpson and superintendent Ricky Dobson stepped in.

Their quick actions prevented Mr Killalea going into cardiac arrest.

“It could have been a lot worse — any heart attack can be fatal,” Mr Simpson said.

“We could see he was having a heart attack, took his observations and gave him pain killers.”

An ambulance took Mr Killalea to Albury hospital, from where he was flown to St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.

He had surgery to insert a 40-millimetre stent into an artery.

Looking back on his symptoms, Mr Killalea said he had suffered a minor heart attack a week earlier while he was alone on a farm.

“I had all the same symptoms but, for whatever reason, I relaxed and was very lucky,” he said.

After the first attack, Mr Killalea said he was a “living time bomb”.

“This second attack could have happened anywhere at any time,” he said.

Symptoms are a fast heart rate, sweating and higher blood pressure.

Meanwhile, earlier this year two St John members attended NSW Government House in Sydney for an annual investiture ceremony.

Helen Van Duursen was admitted as a member and Chris Chant was promoted to officer.

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