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Quickthinking supermarket workers save life of woman after she went into cardiac arrest: 'Angels'
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Quickthinking supermarket workers save life of woman after she went into cardiac arrest: 'Angels'

Mary Brockhoff was searching for sweets at Melbourne supermarket when she collapsed and was administered CPR by the employees.

Image Source: 7News Australia/Youtube
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The life of a woman was saved by the quick thinking of employees in a supermarket in Melbourne, Australia. Mary Brockhoff was in the market with her 11-year-old daughter when she went into cardiac arrest. She told ABC Radio Melbourne that she doesn’t remember anything that happened afterward. However, some good Samaritans knew exactly what they had to do. While everyone around was shocked to see the woman collapse, the store manager on duty, Connor Ferris, quickly sprang into action. Ferris is trained in first aid and with the help of two of his colleagues, he performed CPR and quickly rushed to administer a defibrillator twice. The paramedics arrived about 17 minutes later and Brockhoff was rushed to Box Hill Hospital. She remained in a coma and woke up about five days after the incident. According to statistics, only 10% of those who go into cardiac arrest survive, and Brockhoff was one of the lucky ones, all thanks to the quick thinking of those around her at the time.

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Cardiac arrest happens when the heart suddenly stops and is unable to pump any blood. According to FDA, "If cardiac arrest does occur, rapid treatment with a medical device called an automated external defibrillator (AED) can be life-saving." AED delivers an electric shock which restores the heartbeat at the normal rate. It is extensively used as a first-aid for people who show quick signs of cardiac arrest in public places.

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Brockhoff recalls, "I was just shopping with my daughter, and I collapsed, and these beautiful 20-year-old boys ... came to my rescue, they just acted immediately." She explained that the cardiac arrest was a shock as she was never classified as being at high risk. She said, "I'm only 51, I'm fit, I'm healthy, I walk regularly ... it was just out of the blue." According to Sydney Aus Today, Brockhoff was just buying sweets at a Melbourne Coles supermarket at the time.

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She deemed this incident a "miracle." She said, "I'm recovering [and] adjusting to the new medication ... so I'm very blessed that I survived." Paramedic Chris Hastings from Ambulance Victoria treated Ms Brockhoff and said the incident would have been stressful for the employees. He said, "It can be a very daunting thing for people to witness someone collapse and then be instructed to forcefully push on someone's chest and to try and get their heart going again ... so commendation to the young men."

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He said that their decisions during that short span of time made the difference between life and death for Brockhoff. He explained, "They would have had to quickly identify that Mary wasn't breathing by asking the appropriate questions then advise the gentleman to do CPR until the arrival of the fire services." He also encourages others to learn CPR and do a first-aid course as it could help save many lives. Ferris said that he was trained on a doll, "but in real life, it was completely different.” He explained the gravity of the situation and said, “I felt the adrenaline and the rush; it was very intense at the moment.”

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"The thing about cardiac arrest is it can happen to anyone ... and it can happen to people in situations where people are least expecting it," he added. Brockhoff is slowly returning to her schedule after she endured a near-death experience. "I'll be able to return to work in the coming weeks [but] I can't drive for six months, which is a bit of a bummer," she said. "I'll forever be grateful to those two boys." Brockhoff described the three Coles workers who saved her life as “angels”. “My family and I cannot thank them enough for their heroic actions. They are a big part of our family life together moving forward,” she said.

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