Extra Special Christmas Lunch for Cardiac Patients

December 4, 2018| Epworth News /

The 2018 HeartSmart Christmas Lunch at Leonda on the Yarra was extra special with Tour de France cyclist, Matt Keenan acting as MC and a family sharing their personal story of a 'chain of survival'.

Matt said that his grandfather and two uncles had died of cardiac disease so he agreed to act as MC as this topic was particularly ‘close to his heart’.

After the lunch Matt invited Bruce Carter, his wife Sarah and MICA (Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance) Paramedic, Theo Kossart, to the stage to share their personal experience.  Bruce is a fit middle-aged man who suffered a heart attack one night a few years ago.  His wife Sarah, realising something was wrong, called 000 and then performed CPR on him for 11 minutes until the MICA and Fire Brigade (first responders) arrived.  Sarah, dressed in just a nightie, remembers having about seven men in her bedroom stabilising Bruce before taking him to hospital.  Although Theo didn’t recognise Bruce at first, he realised en route to hospital that he had met him through a mutual friend. 

Sarah, Bruce, Theo & Matt at the Epworth HeartSmart Lunch

Sarah, Bruce, Theo & Matt at the Epworth HeartSmart Lunch

His wife Sarah kept him alive & then the paramedic kept him alive. Now he’s here to have lunch with us today.
— Dr Ron Dick, Director of Cardiology, Epworth

A/Prof Tony Walton, Cardiologist, Epworth, was then invited to speak about the advances in  interventional cardiology. Prof Walton had deployed several stents on two separate occasions to enable Bruce’s heart to perform normally. Bruce has since completed the Epworth HeartSmart rehabilitation program.

The take home message was the importance of each person playing their role in the ‘chain of survival.’ Checking the patient’s response; calling 000; performing CPR immediately; paramedics stabilising the patient; MICA transport to hospital; doctors performing interventional cardiology; patient care and rehabilitation.  Each person performing their role along ‘the chain’ to help save a life, like Bruce’s.  The use of a defibrillator (if available) can also play a key part in ‘the chain.’ You can register your defibrillator or find one using the Ambulance Victoria AED Register.

200 guests attended the 26th annual event organised by HeartSmart Coordinator, Nanci Thurston for cardiac patients who have graduated from the cardiac rehabilitation program at Epworth.  A cardiac episode is often a life-changing event and rehabilitation is important for patients to transition to a normal, and often healthier lifestyle, after the event.

200 attended the lunch at Leonda

200 attended the lunch at Leonda

HeartSmart is for people of all ages who are at risk or have experienced a heart attack, heart problem, heart procedure or heart surgery. It helps patients reduce their chance of future heart problems and covers things like nutrition, exercise, managing risk factors and looking for signs/symptoms.


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