Survivor Stories: Professor David Durrhiem

Professor David Durrheim was out for an early morning cross country run at 6am on October 20th, 2014, when he collapsed on the path.

David had suffered a cardiac arrest only a few minutes into his morning run. Luckily, a lady out walking found him shortly after, realising he was unresponsive and not breathing, she called out for help. Dr Mark Miller, an Emergency Medicine Specialist, was out walking his dog and responded promptly. Together, they performed hands only CPR for 17 minutes keeping Dr Durrheim alive until paramedics arrived with a defibrillator. He received a total of 12 defibrillator shocks  on the way to hospital where he was stabilised, received a cardiac stent for a blocked coronary artery (the “widow maker” artery), and survived without brain injury. 

David says “I am living proof of the value of out-of-hospital cardiac compressions. Mark was God’s hands on my chest that morning.  I am eternally grateful… The more people who can be trained in cardiac compression, the better off we will all be in Australia.” Seven years on from that day, fit and well and fighting on the front line of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dr Durrheim is a fantastic example of how early bystander hands-only CPR can make a huge difference to survival.

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