Off-duty Alfredton ambo helps save life thanks to mobile app

A young paramedic’s use of an innovative new phone app may have saved the life of a Cardigan man after the off-duty ambo rushed to his rescue after receiving a notification in April.

Saving a life: Jodie, Andrew and Nick Crellin with paramedic Jess Handley, who rushed to the family's Cardigan home in April after Andrew unexpectedly collapsed during a heart attack. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Saving a life: Jodie, Andrew and Nick Crellin with paramedic Jess Handley, who rushed to the family's Cardigan home in April after Andrew unexpectedly collapsed during a heart attack. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Earlier this year Ambulance Victoria launched the GoodSAM app for paramedics, which alerts nearby ambos to medical emergencies, allowing them to administer care until an ambulance can arrive.

The tool came in handy at 4am on April 15 when Dr Andrew Crellin collapsed in his bathroom, promting wife Jodie to dial triple 0.

Alfredton paramedic Jess Handley was awakened by the app’s alarm and quickly jumped in her car. 

Coupled with the effective response of 15-year-old son Nick, the pair were able to conduct critical work on the 48-year-old until an ambulance arrived about five minutes later.

“The siren went off and it scared me at first but I bounced out of bed and accepted the call when I saw there was a cardiac arrest nearby,” Ms Handley said. 

“As we know, every minute you’re not receiving CPR defibrillation counts for a 10 per cent reduction in the likelihood of survival, so I didn’t waste any time.”

After being rushed to hospital Dr Crellin was informed he had suffered a minor heart attack close to his heart conducting system, despite never previously experiencing any symptoms. 

While he did suffer some high-level brain problems from the collapse, he’s now on the mend and is expected to make a strong recovery.

“There are lots of people who just by the fact it takes three or four minutes for someone who can do CPR to get there don’t survive nearly as well, so I’ve been extremely fortunate,” Dr Crellin said. 

The remarkable saviour comes just months after a pilot version of the app was launched. 

About 1100 paramedics across the state have downloaded the app, a figure the government hopes to boost through the addition of other medical professionals and emergency service workers.

Meanwhile, the family is also urging the promotion of basic CPR skills for school children after Nick’s basic skills learned through swim squad played a vital role in reviving Dr Crellin.

This week, junior footballers at Nick’s club Redan were being taught the fundamental skills which could one day save a life.

“It was scary waking up in the middle of the night seeing Dad unconscious on the floor and having to do something I never thought I’d have to do,” Nick said of the incident.  

“It’s a compulsory thing that you have to be able to complete in order to pass squad, so I’m grateful that rather than just doing swimming I’ve been taught that and it’s helped Dad to survive.”

In a statement Health Minister Jill Hnnessy said “in an emergency, every second counts”. 

“This cutting-edge technology means highly-trained first responders can get to the scene of a cardiac arrest sooner – boosting the chance of survival.”