Mount Clear student saves the life of a man who suffered a heart attack

CLOSE CALL: Year nine student Timothy Yordonopulo and the man he saved, John Robertson, meet again at Mount Clear College. Picture: Lachlan Bence

CLOSE CALL: Year nine student Timothy Yordonopulo and the man he saved, John Robertson, meet again at Mount Clear College. Picture: Lachlan Bence

A Mount Clear teenager called on the basic CPR skills he learned from his mother years ago to save the life of a man who suffered a heart attack.

Timothy Yordonopulo, a year 9 Mount Clear College student, rushed to the aid of John Robertson, 69, after he collapsed at the Regent Cinemas recently.

Despite a handful of staff and moviegoers in the foyer at the time, it was Timothy who first responded.

The 15-year-old was taking his girlfriend to see a movie during the recent school holidays when the incident happened.

“We were about to go in to the cinema when (John) collapsed,” Timothy said. “My immediate thought was to run over and see if he was okay and that’s when I saw he wasn’t breathing.”

Timothy called triple zero, rolled Mr Robertson onto his side to allow air into his lungs and then started chest compressions. He didn’t stop working on Mr Robertson until the ambulance arrived, believing adrenaline kept him going.

“My mum was a nurse and she taught me everything I know from the age of nine until she passed away,” Timothy said. “She taught me that if you see something you immediately jump in and try to get involved and help out as much as you can.”

Mr Robertson praised Timothy for his actions when the two met on Friday.

“The ambulance officer said if he hadn’t done that (responded) then I wouldn’t be here,” Mr Robertson said.

The last thing Mr Robertson remembers is walking to the cinema on crutches following a second hip replacement, but feeling well at the time. The next 10 days in hospital were a blur.

“I was waking up in CCU, having lost a week of my life,” he said. “I was told they worked on me for half an hour, which, according to my doctor, is an exceptionally long time.”

It’s not the first time Mr Robertson has experienced a close call. In 2008 he had double bypass surgery.  “It’s the second time that I should be thankful ... I’m just really grateful.”

Timothy visited Mr Robertson in hospital after the heart attack, but the 69-year-old retiree has few memories of the meeting.

“It’s a good feeling (to have helped Mr Robertson),” Timothy said. 

“I’m glad to know he is still here with us.”

Mr Robertson wants to create an award to present to Timothy as thanks for his quick actions.