Emma McRae knows she wouldn’t be alive if paramedics hadn’t used a defibrillator to restart her heart after she went into sudden cardiac arrest while grocery shopping earlier this year.
The Darley Primary School teacher (pictured) was shopping in her local Aldi store after school on Thursday, April 14 when she suddenly collapsed.
Ms McRae, 33, has no memory of what happened from the day she collapsed until the following Saturday, but has been told the store manager and another staff member started CPR while a member of the public called for an ambulance.
There was no defibrillator available in the store, so the staff members performed CPR on Ms McRae for 10 minutes before the ambulance arrived.
Paramedics then gave Ms McRae two shocks with the defibrillator to restart her heart.
She was taken to Sunshine Hospital, where she stayed for 17 days while doctors tried to work out the cause of her sudden cardiac arrest.
They placed a defibrillator in her chest.
She was told there was no reason for her cardiac arrest, meaning there is nothing she can do to prevent another incident.
She had another cardiac arrest in July and was admitted to hospital last week with further heart problems.
But that hasn’t stopped Ms McRae from advocating that defibrillators be located in more public spaces.
“The doctors made it pretty clear had I not been given shocks from the defibrillator, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.
“If someone is having a sudden cardiac arrest, they need a defibrillator. You need it within minutes of your heart stopping.
“In society, it’s law to have a fire extinguisher – but not to have a defibrillator.”
Ms McRae has joined not-for-profit organisation Urban Lifesavers to push for a national rollout of defibrillators.
Urban Lifesavers will hold a mass defibrillator training event at Federation Square on Wednesday, October 12, from 11.30am.
To attend, visit: www.urbanlifesavers.org.au