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First aid class demonstrating CPR on a dummy.

First aid class demonstrating CPR on a dummy.
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Wiggle’s collapse highlights the importance of CPR and defibrillators

Blog post | 21 Jan 2020

On the weekend, former member of The Wiggles, Greg Page, collapsed on the side of the stage after performing in a bushfire relief concert.

After suffering a cardiac arrest following a heart attack, Page is now in a stable condition in hospital.

The shocking incident — which almost killed one of Australia's most beloved children's entertainers — shows why it's important to know how to resuscitate someone.

It's not that hard to learn CPR

Greg Page survived because a bandmate, a Wiggles staff member and a nurse — who was in the audience — performed CPR and used a defibrillator for 20 minutes until paramedics arrived.

This shows you don't need to be a nurse or a trained health professional to give someone life-saving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), or even use a defibrillator ('defib', or 'AED' if it's an automated external defibrillator).

CPR involves chest compressions, and sometimes mouth-to-mouth, which helps circulate blood and oxygen around the body while a person is unconscious and either not breathing on their own or breathing abnormally.

It's a skill that anyone can learn. And according to research by Monash University, patients who receive 'bystander CPR' — given by a person on the scene, who is not necessarily a health professional — are more than twice as likely to survive cardiac arrest than those who don't.

Former 'yellow' Wiggle, Greg Page, recovering in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest. Source: The Wiggles
Former 'yellow' Wiggle, Greg Page, recovering in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.

What's a defibrillator (and where are they)?

The nurse who helped Page, Grace Jones, used a public-access defibrillator (AED) located in the RSL where The Wiggles were performing. A defibrillator is a device that uses electricity to restart (or 'shock') the heart into the right rhythm.

The 'defib' analyses the heart rhythm and determines whether a shock is needed. AEDs are totally automated so they can be used by anyone, even if they haven't received training. The device will tell you what to do using voice prompts.

If a defibrillator is used within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, a person's chance of survival is as high as 70% —St John Ambulance Australia

Acting quickly is key: defibrillation is most effective when applied within 3 minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest. Its effectiveness is reduced by 10% for every minute that passes before defibrillation. Never be afraid to use one.

Defibrillators are often found in large public places and workplaces, such as schools, gyms, shopping centres and community centres. You can download the free St John Ambulance app, Resuscitate, to find a public-access defibrillator near you.

How to save a life

Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance if someone has had a cardiac arrest, is unconscious or unresponsive, or is not breathing.

There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself to save a life, including:

Watch this video by Royal Life Saving Australia on how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator:

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