One out of the box

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 8, 2018

Damon McFarlane. ‘Good On Ya Mate‘ is an understatement.

Receiving our regular flow of Good on ya Mate nominations is certainly a highlight. But when Malcolm Sutton from Knight and Dickey Transport in Waiuku contacted us and said, “I‘d like to nominate Damon McFarlane for Good on ya Mate”, we said, “Yep sweet as Malcolm. Can you tell us what Damon did?”

“Yeah sure, I was a goner and he saved my life.”

“Aagghhh I beg your pardon????”

A phone conversation ensued with Malcolm speaking from his hospital bed, bright, chirpy and alert, as if nothing had happened, but that was far from the truth.

At about four in the afternoon on Friday 23 February Malcolm was on the top cab step of Damon‘s truck chatting to him through the window when all of a sudden Malcolm said, “I‘m not feeling too good.” He promptly fell and collapsed on the ground, banging his head on the way down and spraining his right ankle on landing. They weren‘t in immediate earshot or view of anyone, and after Damon checked Malcolm‘s vitals he realised the gravity of the situation and started CPR.

“It‘s been a while since I did my first aid course but it came back to me and I started the 32/1 I remember being taught. It‘s pretty scary stuff,” said Damon.

Minutes seemed like hours before his shouting found support. A call went out to 111, and Damon got some help at the scene from workshop manager Karl Dickey and his father, John. The company defibrillator was grabbed from the office wall and rushed to the scene.

While all this was going on local first aider Paul Griffin was working at a local panel shop when his phone app burst into life saying there was a man down at Knight and Dickey and it was serious. He bolted!

Paul arrived as the ‘defib‘ was being unpacked and took over, being best equipped to handle the gadget. Paul wired Malcolm up, and pressed the discharge button.

“It seemed so long before the ambos got there,” said Damon. “I mean it wasn‘t, not saying that at all, but man time slows down! I was buggered.”

It turns out Malcolm essentially had a short circuit himself. Tests in hospital showed all the plumbing surrounding the heart to be clear, clean and in fine order, but the heart‘s electrical system was on the blink.

“The doctors said it was all down to Damon and the team that helped me and kept the oxygen circulating. I was certainly a goner had they not been there,” said Malcolm.

On the day we popped in everyone to a man at Knight and Dickey wanted us to stress to our readers the absolute importance of having a defibrillator on site at the depot.

“We can‘t convey how essential this piece of kit is,” said operations manager, Paul Oliver. “It may sit on the wall for years but you just don‘t know at what moment it becomes the most valuable tool you have. The CPR was certainly essential, but Paul arriving and taking over certainly added to Malcolm‘s chances.”

So, how else do you say it to Damon on behalf of Malcolm and the entire industry but ‘Good on ya Mate‘.