31 May 2015

Using a combination of quick thinking and the application of vital first aid procedures, two young St John Volunteers were able to save the life of a cyclist, left fighting for his life after collapsing on his bike.


Sarah Morphett, 19, and Eleni Danopoulos, 22, had just finished their first aid volunteering shift at last month’s Bay to City event when they became aware that Dieter Schulz had collapsed whilst out on his daily bike ride.


They were able to identify that Dieter – a 75 year old grandfather from Glenelg - was not breathing and required immediate first aid support including DRSABCD (the seven step action plan – Danger, Response, Send, Airway, Breathing, CPR and Defibrillation), the use of an AED, or automated external defibrillator, and administering CPR until an ambulance arrived.


Grandfather of four, Dieter Schulz, suffered eight cracked ribs and has since had a triple bypass and spent the past month recovering and is extremely grateful to be alive. He says if it wasn’t for Sarah and Eleni’s quick response he wouldn’t be alive today.


“The last thing I remember is riding my bike and the next thing I knew I was waking up out of an induced coma in the hospital. Now I’m finally out of hospital and slowly getting better every day.”


St John Ambulance SA General Manager Health Services, Kerry Whitehead, says that Dieter’s story reiterates the importance of first aid training, the availability of defibrillators and the quality of St John Volunteers.


“It is extremely fortunate that St John Volunteers were in attendance at the Bay to City and were able to help Dieter out. His story really demonstrates the value of first aid training and we are delighted that he is making a full recovery.”


“I’m extremely proud of Sarah and Eleni – and all our St John volunteers - it goes to show that being first aid prepared and having the right equipment in any case of an emergency can help save someone’s life before emergency services arrive,” says Ms Whitehead.


On Thursday May 28, Dieter will be reunited with Sarah and Eleni to thank them personally for their part in saving his life. He is also hoping to find out what happened that day because he has no memory of the events.


“I am looking forward to filling in the gaps in terms of what exactly happened that day. I have a hole in my life at the moment.”


“But I know just how lucky I am to have any life at all!” says Mr Shultz.


Kerry Whitehead adds that having a defibrillator on hand at your workplace, shopping centre or community club can make the difference between life and death.”


“We believe that having defibrillators in locations where large numbers of people gather, and areas with a high foot traffic, could literally save thousands of lives each year in our community.”


Photo: Dieter thanks Eleni and Sarah for saving his life.