Man saves heart attack victim after getting CPR instructions over the phone
To mark National Life Saving Day, 23 heroes were recognised yesterday for saving people suffering from cardiac arrest. Three award recipients tell KRYSTAL CHIA (firstname.lastname@example.org) how they did it
On a Sunday afternoon during Chinese New Year in 2014, business analyst Edwin Huang was tucking into a bowl of beef noodles at an eatery in Seah Street.
Suddenly, he heard a piercing scream coming from the kitchen.
He rushed over to find the eatery's owner on the ground, motionless.
Even though he didn't know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), he stepped forward anyway and helped save the man's life.
Yesterday, the 32-year-old was presented with the Survivor Awards Singapore.
Mr Huang was at Authentic Hock Lam St Popular Beef Kway Teow when its owner, Mr Tan Han Theng, 63, collapsed.
Mr Huang saw that the elderly man had turned purple and had stopped breathing.
He told The New Paper that there was utter chaos in the kitchen after Mr Tan collapsed.
He said: "Two employees and I first dragged Mr Tan out of the kitchen and into the corridor.
"Somebody then called the ambulance."
As he was not CPR-certified, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel guided him over the phone.
Mr Huang said: "It was chaotic. I vaguely remember someone crying. And many pairs of eyes on me.
"My mind was completely blank. I just wanted to administer CPR correctly and save his life."
The entire episode was captured on the eatery's closed-circuit television cameras.
Thankfully, Mr Tan soon began to breathe.
Five employees, including Mr Tan's wife, were at the scene.
TNP understands that another customer was involved in the rescue but declined to comment on the incident.
The SCDF personnel on the phone gave clear instructions and also real-time updates on the whereabouts of the ambulance, said Mr Huang.
Mr Huang added: "It was very reassuring to know that help was on the way."
SCDF paramedics arrived after about six minutes of chest compressions.
Paramedic Jonathan Wang, who was involved in the incident, said a heart attack victim's chances of survival are greatly increased when there is immediate intervention to keep the blood circulating to the brain until SCDF arrives.
He added that simple chest compressions are all it takes.
SCDF Operations Centre supervisor Elvan B. Tamam, who guided Mr Huang over the phone, said: "Mr Huang was calm over the phone and performed the guided CPR admirably. I'm glad Mr Tan pulled through.
"I feel that everyone should know at least the basics of CPR and feel confident doing it as the SCDF dispatcher guides you every step of the way."
After being taken to Singapore General Hospital, three of Mr Tan's major heart arteries were found to be severely blocked, said Mr Tan's eldest daughter, Ms Dorothy Tan, 45.
Mr Tan was hospitalised for a month.
He underwent a heart bypass and pacemaker surgery.
Although he had to be resuscitated a further three times in hospital, he pulled through.
Today, he doesn't cook but helps oversee daily operations at the eatery's outlet at North Canal Road.
The Seah Street outlet closed in April 2014 after its lease expired.
Recalling the incident, Mr Tan said he was playing a game of Candy Crush on his mobile phone when he had to go to the kitchen to cook.
He said: "I stood up and took two steps towards the kitchen."
He then asked his wife: "Why has the sky turned so dark?"
That was the last thing he remembers before waking up in hospital.
Mr Tan and Mr Huang met last Thursday evening for the first time since the incident. The two men hugged and there were tears in Mr Tan's eyes.
Four of Mr Tan's family members were also present to thank Mr Huang.
Mr Tan said: "I have so much to thank him for and I'm glad I can meet him to convey my thanks."
Mr Huang was glad to see Mr Tan healthy and energetic. He was also touched that Mr Tan's family remembered him and were appreciative of his efforts.
He said: "Mr Tan may be a man of few words but I could really feel his sincerity."
During the reunion, Mr Tan's family gave Mr Huang shopping vouchers as a token of appreciation.
Mr Huang used to be a regular customer at the eatery, which was near his previous workplace.
He said: "My wife and I returned to the outlet but was sad to see it had closed."
They did not know that the eatery had two other branches.
Mr Tan's family had kept Mr Huang updated on Mr Tan's operations in 2014.
But Mr Huang was still very worried for a few days after the incident.
His wife, Ms Adeline Choo, 32, recalls Mr Huang meeting her immediately after the incident.
The human resource consultant said: "Edwin was very emotional. He couldn't talk about what had happened for a while."
Mr Tan's family had tried to meet Mr Huang in 2014 to thank him, but he declined.
Mr Huang said what he did was the least anyone could do for someone in need.
"I couldn't walk away. I knew that if it were my family members who were in need, I would wish for someone to help them, too."
On how Mr Tan intends to thank Mr Huang for saving his life, Mr Tan joked: "Edwin gets a lifetime of free beef noodles."
They performed CPR to save man in courtroom
SAVIOURS: Station inspectors Quek Suan (left) and Jahabar Sadiq were coming out of a meeting last November when they were told that a man had collapsed in a courtroom. TNP PHOTOS: CHOO CHWEE HUA
As police officers, they fight crime to save lives.
But what station inspectors (SI) Quek Suan and Jahabar Sadiq did not expect was to have to save a dying man in a courtroom at the State Courts.
They had just ended a meeting on Nov 27 when a colleague told them that a man in his 50s had collapsed in a courtroom.
SI Quek said: "We rushed immediately to find a pale, unconscious man. His lips had turned purple and he was not breathing."
The court interpreter was already administering an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on the man when the duo arrived.
AEDs send an electric shock to the heart to revive it.
SI Quek, who celebrated his 45th birthday yesterday,said he immediately administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the man.
SI Jahabar, 39, held the man's head in a tilted position to maintain an open airway.
The man started to breathe on his own after two cycles of CPR.
Each cycle comprises 30 chest compressions and two blows of mouth-to-mouth breathing.
SI Jahabar said: "The sense of relief I felt when he took his first breath was indescribable."
The man was semi-conscious for about seven minutes before Singapore Civil Defence Force personnel arrived.
Around 10 people were at the scene, including court employees and police officers.
While both SI Quek and SI Jahabar are CPR-certified, this was their first time administering CPR.
SI Quek, who has been with Singapore Police Force (SPF) for 25 years, said: "Luckily, the steps were fresh in my mind as I had attended a CPR re-certification course just one week before the incident."
SI Jahabar has been with SPF for 18 years.
They hope this incident will inspire their colleagues to help save lives without hesitation.
SI Jahabar said: "Nothing really went through our minds during the incident.
"We only knew that we had to give the man a chance to live."
I have so much to thank him for and I'm glad I can meet him to convey my thanks.
- Mr Tan Han Theng on Mr Edwin Huang
400 CERTIFIED AS CITIZEN FIRST RESPONDERS
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean launched the Citizen First Responder Training Programme yesterday.
Organised by the National Resuscitation Council (NRC) and National First Aid Council, the programme covers first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training in five hours.
It was launched at Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, where 400 residents were certified as the pioneer batch of Citizen First Responders.
DPM Teo said: "You have taken this important step to empower yourselves to save lives, in the community, at work, and in public places.
"Together, we can promote self-help, care for one another and make Singapore a more resilient community."
DPM Teo also presented the Survivor Awards Singapore to those who have helped survivors of cardiac arrest.
The award is jointly organised by the Unit for Pre-hospital Emergency Care and the NRC.
Those interested in the course, which costs $45, can register by calling the Singapore Red Cross Academy at 6664 0565.