Improving Knowledge. Saving Lives.

A Cardiac Arrest Survival Foundation Initiative.

Harri Panaanan 30 April 2010.13101928 std thumbA Sydney electronics technician and father of three survived a cardiac arrest at Redfern railway station thanks to a state-of-the-art automated external defibrillator.

Doctors told the 52-year-old he had died seven times during his ordeal. But swift action by a RailCorp employee means the man will celebrate his 53rd birthday with family next month.

When Finland-born Harri Paananen used to fix defibrillators some 24 years

ago, he could not have known that one day they would save his life. But

that's exactly what happened after he started feeling ‘a bit crook’ at work

just before 11 AM on 30th April. Harri asked a workmate to drive him to

nearby Redfern station so he could take the rest of the day off and see a


“When we got to the station the pain got so severe I had to sit down,”

Harri said. “A cleaner saw me and said: ‘You don't look

well’. He took me to the station manager’s office where I met Tom

(Baghdadi). I asked Tom if I could sit down. But the pain got worse and I

said I needed to lie down. That's when things started to cloud over.”

In fact, Harri died there on the floor of the station manager's office. But

swift action by RailCorp station manager Tom Baghdadi saved Harri's life.

When Tom had asked Harri if he wanted an ambulance, Harri, who had

never been in a hospital in his life, said no. Then Harri's condition

deteriorated before Tom's eyes. So Tom rang an ambulance anyway. About

10 minutes later, Harri had a sudden cardiac arrest.

According to official reports, Harri, by this stage, had no pulse and was not

breathing. That was at 1105. Tom and transit police officer Paul Philipp

grabbed an automatic external defibrillator from a nearby room, opened it

and placed its pads on Harri just one minute later. Philipp commenced

CPR, and the AED quickly assessed the situation. By 1107 it had given Harri

his first automated shock. Paramedics arrived three minutes later.

Harri remembers very little of the ordeal.


In Memoriam

Dr Jeff Wassertheil

Dr Jeff Wassertheil founding
director of the Cardiac Arrest
Survival Foundation

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