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Ian’s Story: Close to the Heart – How CPR Saved His Life And How It Can Save Yours Too

By March 24, 2021 No Comments

Ian Hutchinson (Hutch) was riding his bike with mate Don MacKee when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

A cardiac arrest is when the heart stops all function. Only 9% of people who suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest survive. Hutch is one of the lucky 9%, and he believes it was all because his mate and members of the public had some knowledge of CPR.

When it comes to his health, Hutch is more proactive than most of us. So to say this was a surprise to his friends and family is an understatement.

Hutch leads an active and healthy lifestyle, has annual heart tests and regular check-ups. He didn’t fit any traditional risk factors; in fact, he had just returned from completing an endurance cycle from Amsterdam to Paris three months earlier!

It was in September 2018, during his weekly bike ride with his good mate Don at Narrabeen Lagoon, when Hutch suffered the unexpected cardiac arrest. As it turns out, he was lucky to have Don and a few good samaritans nearby. They could recall 30-year-old CPR training, which would save his life while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

“I wouldn’t be here if they weren’t able to perform CPR. You only have minutes when the heart stops before brain damage; by minute seven, you are dead. The ambulance arrived ten minutes after the call to triple 0.” Hutch tells us.

 

First responders took Hutch to Royal North Shore Hospital. He was placed in an induced coma and woke up the next day with no memory of the event. It took three days, but luckily his memory did return.

Ian in hospital 2018 with partner Katie & daughter Sierra by his side

Hutch needed to stay in hospital for two weeks (a couple of those days spent in ICU). During this time, cardiologists were running tests, and an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) was implanted, protecting his heart from any future cardiac arrests.

Hutch is grateful for the care he received from the fantastic staff and the comprehensive follow-up process and rehabilitation programs available within the Northern Sydney Local Health District to improve his outcomes. .

He is incredibly thankful to his cardiologist, Professor Gemma Figtree for being there that day to treat him. Today he regards her as a great friend. Eager to give back and show his gratitude for his care, Hutch attends conferences with Professor Figtree. He shares a patient’s perspective through his story highlighting CPR’s importance.

Hutch sees the real value of people sharing their experiences to help highlight the importance of cardiology treatment, services and research. And to also assist people through their journey when they suffer a similar event.

“In a perfect world, I reckon people who survived the experience, if they can, should offer support. Because at the start, it is all very freaky and scary. Talking with someone who has been through it, and seeing them recovered may help to alleviate some anxiety as well as avoid post-traumatic stress. Rather it encourages post-traumatic growth”.

 

Surprised and motivated by the statistic that only 9% of Australians survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest every year* – Hutch knew a return to everyday life just was possible. With his psychology background, he knew he could make a difference to improve this heart-breaking statistic. His mantra ‘any CPR training is better than no training’ was the motivation behind starting his social initiative ‘CPR Friendly’ in April 2019.

Hutch and Don at their first CP BBQ

Hutch and Don at their first CPR BBQ

The idea is that not everyone can invest in the time to become CPR certified. But a little knowledge can still make a big difference when faced with someone suffering a cardiac arrest. So CPR Friendly is about chunking down the information and arming people with some knowledge.

“There was a 91% chance that I could have been dead, but I’m not, so this is bonus time and I want to make the most of it and pay it forward!”

 

Hutch saw the gap between CPR knowledge and training; YouTube videos about CPR on one end and lengthy formal certified training on the other. It was this knowledge gap in the community that needed to be filled. Hutch and mate Don have designed CPR and defibrillator training to be delivered in a lighthearted, positive and memorable way. These educational and engaging videos range from 5 seconds to 45 minutes.

“Chunking it down and giving simple options, makes it more accessible to everyone. We also run webinars for people seeking a more interactive experience”.

 

This idea all began with a ‘CPR BBQ’ event to educate friends and family who didn’t know how to perform CPR or how life-changing this skill could be – their first BBQ brought 30 people together.

Since ‘CPR Friendly’ has been operating, Hutch is proud to say the initiative so far has made 5000 people CPR aware and helped to provide 20 defibrillators in the community.

We are always grateful to patients like Hutch who turn their life-changing events into something positive that helps create greater awareness and education in the community.

You can also follow CPR friendly on Facebook or watch their free webinars online – www.CPRfriendly.org

Are you feeling inspired? You can join other NORTH Foundation Community Fundraisers to raise awareness and funds support a cause close to your heart. To learn more about our community fundraising initiatives and to set-up your own fundraising page please visit https://north-foundation.raisely.com/ 

If you would like to support the Northern Sydney Local Health District cardiac research and healthcare services by a direct donation, you can do so by visiting our donation page here.

The NORTH Foundation is the official fundraising and engagement partner for the Northern Sydney Local Health District including Royal North Shore, Ryde and Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospitals as well as the Kolling Institute.

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