A HUSBAND and wife were in the right place at the right time when an elderly man collapsed after a heart attack at the Commercial Club Albury this week.
The man, aged about 70, had finished a game of squash about 6pm on Tuesday and was watching others play when he fell ill.
Shannon Pigdon had started working at the club’s gym two weeks earlier; his wife, Cheryl Schneider, had just walked in the door — the rain causing her to use the treadmill at her husband’s workplace for the first time instead of going for a run outdoors.
Before they even had the chance to say hello, the pair, both personal trainers who learned first aid about 12 months ago, were forced to rush to the man and begin administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
“He was completely unconscious, he didn’t have a pulse and he wasn’t breathing,” Mr Pigdon said.
Ms Schneider said the pair went on “autopilot” as they battled to save the man’s life.
“We just did it, going through all of the processes that you were supposed to go through,” she said.
“It pretty much does come back the way they teach you,” Mr Pigdon added.
“It was quite surreal.”
The couple kept the man alive until paramedics arrived and used a defibrillator, after which his heart started pumping again.
Veteran Albury ambulance officer Laurie Evans said the pair’s work had been admirable and demonstrated the vital importance of first aid training.
“I’ve been in the job for 30-something years and ... he’s the first person that actually sat up on the stretcher and talked to us while we were driving to hospital,” he said.
“People really need to learn CPR; it can save lives.”
Mr Pigdon said it had been a happy coincidence to have had his wife on hand.
“I knew that she knew CPR and so did I — the timing of it was just ridiculous,” he said.
The man is understood to have been transferred to Melbourne for further treatment.