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Achala thankful for friend’s CPR skills

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

An innocuous Sunday picnic took a dramatic turn for Wyndham Vale man Achala Muthukudasinghe after he had a heart attack and was revived by a friend who had only completed his CPR course two weeks ago.

Achala, aged 42 and a father of three, was enjoying a community parish picnic on Sunday along the Geelong waterfront when he started feeling strange after lunch. Thanks to the quick-thinking actions of bystanders, including childhood friend Mahesh who had completed a CPR course two weeks prior, he was resuscitated until paramedics arrived on the scene with immediate defibrillation.

He was then transferred to University Hospital Geelong where he had some heart procedures to treat his blocked artery, which had caused the heart attack.

Waking up in hospital later that day, Achala slowly began to remember what had unfolded and discovered he was fortunate to sustain only minor side effects.

“Luckily, all the right people were on the ground to support me,” Achala  - who has no family history of heart problems - said.

“Everything was on the right time. They were working on me for 10 – 15 minutes before the ambulance arrived, I was very lucky.

“I’d encourage anyone – especially after this incident – to do their CPR training.”

Dr Chin Hiew, Barwon Health’s Director of Cardiology Services, said Achala was extremely fortunate his bystanders recognised the symptoms of possible heart attack and immediately began CPR.

“Every minute counts,” Dr Hiew said. “Achala is lucky his story has a happy ending because half of these cases die before reaching hospital.

“Barwon Health has a world-class facility and the expertise to treat unexpected cardiac events like Achala’s, but this will only work if patients recognise the signs and symptoms and have good CPR without delay, to prevent irreversible damage to their heart and brain.”

While Achala (pictured below) is on track to make a full recovery, he joked Mahesh had already told him there would be payback for having saved his life.

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