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How a visit to the pub saved local patron Geoff Willbrands’ life

Patrons Jayson Field, Geoff Willbrands, Jed Fatches, and hotelier Peter Coyne.

They’re the real-life heroes who saved the life of Hotel Wangi local Geoff Willbrands when he suffered a heart attack at the pub recently.

Patrons Jed Fatches, a Navy clearance diver, and Jayson Field, trained in mine rescue, were visiting the pub and immediately jumped into action using the hotel’s AED and their resuscitation training when Willbrands fell unconscious from his stool.

Hotelier Peter Coyne, who has been at the pub for 27 years, decided only six months ago to install the AED - a decision which would ultimately help to save Willbrand’s life.


"He had no pulse when they started doing compressions," Coyne said.


“After working on him for about 16 very frightening minutes he was back - and now he’s good as gold with only a few cracked ribs.


“Installing the AED was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made.”


Willbrands said had it not been for Fatches and Field being at the pub  - and the presence of the AED - he wouldn’t be alive today.


“I was just sitting there and told my friend I had chest pains, so she said she’d Google it,” he said.


“Next minute bang, I was on the floor.


“If I’d collapsed in the carpark and no one was out there it would have been a different story - I’d have been gone.


“These are great people. I have no doubt they saved my life. Everyone at the pub calls me Lazarus now.”

 “These are great people. I have no doubt they saved my life. Everyone at the pub calls me Lazarus now” - Geoff Willbrands.

For many people, the idea of providing life-saving resuscitation to someone suffering a heart attack would be a nerve-wracking experience, but for Fatches and Field it was all in a day’s work.


“When we were told Geoff had collapsed, a few of us went out and Jed and I got each side of him to check for a pulse,” Field said.


“I checked his wrist, Jed checked his neck, and when there was no pulse I said, ‘I think we’re on here’.


 The pair immediately went to work, their training kicking in as they took turns applying compressions to Willbrands’ chest.


“He was in a bad state. He was blue, his head was bleeding from where he fell. He looked terrible,” Field said.


While Fatches and Field worked, Coyne retrieved the AED and the pair applied the pads to Willbrands’ chest.

A registered nurse nearby also quickly arrived at the pub after hearing her phone ping with a message from the GoodSAM app - triggered by the 000 call.

“When the nurse arrived, she said we were doing a good job and to just keep going,” Fatches said.


“We did about five or six cycles of CPR and two shocks with the AED. He came to and we rolled him into the recovery position and waited for the ambulance to arrive.”


Despite the danger Willbrands was in, with only five to 10 percent of people surviving a cardiac arrest, Fatches said he was confident they could save his life.


“I was comfortable with what we were doing, and I knew we could get him back,” he said.


“We’re both trained in emergency medical response and were just doing our job.”

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