Survivor Stories – John Schiemer

Heath and Jenny Schiemer awoke at 0430 the day after Anzac Day in 2019 to sound of abnormal breathing/moaning coming from their son John’s room. They found him face down, eyes rolled back and unresponsive.

John had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest that morning due to a medical condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a condition which affects the electrical system of the heart. John was unaware he had this condition and was leading an active lifestyle working full time and playing soccer. Quick thinking from John’s parents Jenny and Heath, at a very stressful time led them to start chest compressions immediately and call ‘000’ after they found John. In total, John received 24 mins of CPR from his parents with support from New South Wales Ambulance Service over the phone. On arrival paramedics assisted John’s parents with CPR and in total delivered 7 shocks from the defibrillator resulting in John becoming stable, breathing on his own and being quickly transferred to hospital. John spent a total of 2 weeks in hospital and survived returning to his normal life.

John survived due to the quick thinking from his parents to call ‘000’ and start effective chest compressions. “Losing John wasn’t an option, it’s an absolute miracle” states Jenny. Both Heath and Jenny were First Aid accredited and had previously attended training in CPR. Since that day in 2019 John has made a good recovery, feeling fit, back working full time as a concreter, and playing soccer on the weekends. John’s survivor story highlights the vital role the bystander, in this case Heath and Jenny, has on the outcome of anyone who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest in the community.

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