Ray’s heart attack survival story

Murray Mallee highway patrol Senior Constable Rob Sully (right) helped bring Renmark man Ray Sutton (left) back to life after Ray suffered a heart attack at work earlier this year. PHOTO: Christian Longobardi

A LOCAL man has highlighted the importance of first-aid training in the workplace after surviving a heart attack earlier this year.
Ray Sutton was working with his Renmark Irrigation Trust colleague Phil Waters when he collapsed to the ground from a heart attack.
Mr Waters said the pair were repairing a pipe break on Kulkyne Street, Renmark, and were about to drive off after cleaning up the site.
“We were packing up our signs and bollards,” Mr Waters said.
“We’d finished the job and were standing beside the ute talking and Ray rolled his eyes back and dropped down.
“He was sitting on the ground just gasping, so I got on the phone to triple zero.”
Mr Waters then managed to flag down a passing police vehicle, being driven by Murray Mallee highway patrol Senior Constable Rob Sully.
“Ray had already started to change colour,” Constable Sully said.
“Basically we got him in the recovery position and made sure his airways were clean.
“I’m pretty sure he wasn’t breathing. I had my hand on his back, there was no rising of the chest, so I checked his airways and we started CPR.”
Constable Sully said Ray was showing little signs.
“Every now and again, a little wheeze or something,” Constable Sully said.
Constable Sully and Mr Waters remained on the phone to triple zero until paramedics arrived around 15 minutes later.
“When they (paramedics) got there they put the defibrillator on a couple of times,” Constable Sully said.
“It didn’t work the first few times, before they did it again I think Ray spluttered and coughed and he was back again.”
Mr Sutton was then taken to the Renmark Hospital and was flown by helicopter to the Flinders Medical Centre.
“I didn’t have the operation for a week,” Mr Sutton said.
“I had a three-way bypass operation; it was a big operation.
“It was just over 12 weeks ago and I’m feeling really, really good now.
“Soon enough I’ll go back to work.”
Mr Sutton said he felt lucky that circumstances worked in his favour.
“I’m feeling very much loved and touched by an angel somewhere along the line,” Mr Sutton said.
“I can’t praise Phil and Rob enough, they did a fantastic job.
“Without the first-aid training that we have every year, and our workmen knowing how to do CPR, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Mr Waters said the pair had finished the job and he was just minutes from leaving the worksite when Mr Sutton collapsed.
“It would be less than two minutes and I wouldn’t have been there with him,” Mr Waters said.
“We were just having a quick chat about what we were up to next. That’s when he dropped, otherwise I would have been on the backhoe driving back to the yard.
“Half an hour beforehand he was driving the tip truck, so that could have been worse.
“It’s also one reason I like us always – when possible – to work in pairs. You never know when something is going to happen out in the field.”
Constable Sully said the importance of knowing first aid was unable to be measured.
“Just having those basic skills certainly has helped Ray no end,” Constable Sully said.
“You never know when you are going to need to do it. If you have the skills, you never hope to use them but the training is there and you’re prepared.”