Truckie's a lot cooler thanks to ambo's 'clot buster'
An Ipswich man has a new lease on life after an ambitious, but lifesaving procedure delivered by Bowen paramedics.
It was a day not dissimilar to any other for 63-year-old truck driver Geoff Woodrow who was killing time at a Depot in Bowen waiting for a set of trailers to arrive from Tully in late 2017.
But things took a turn for the worse when he started to experience a dull pain that ran from his arms to his back.
Before he knew it, he was sweating profusely.
"I thought wow the spaghetti bolognese I just ate must have been some pretty rough stuff," he said.
"So I went and laid down in the truck for a bit, then my breathing faltered and I couldn't walk.
So I rang my manager who rang the ambulance."
By the time the ambulance arrived at the scene, Mr Woodrow's condition had severely worsened.
Still sitting propped up in the cabin of his truck, emergency personnel had to use a stretcher to get him out before they could deliver an assessment.
By that time he was pale and going in and out of consciousness.
"By the time the paramedics arrived I was buggered," Mr Woodrow said.
"I can vaguely remember my manager Brad holding me up right yelling 'stay with me' to keep me awake."
Realising he was suffering from a heart attack, paramedics got to work on a treatment plan.
Knowing that time was of the essence, the crew administered an intravenous drug known within the medical industry as a 'clot buster' - a blood thinning drug designed to clear out blockages in and around the heart.
But it didn't come without risk.
"It's very rare for us to use it as it carries the risk of bringing on a life threatening stroke in one in a 100 patients," Bowen paramedic Mitchell Higgs, who was one of two paramedics who administered the drug to Mr Woodrow, said.
Mr Higgs said although the medication is designed to fix blockages, it might cause bleeding in other areas around the body that might already be weakened.
Therefore paramedics had to take a measured approach.
But the drug worked a treat for Mr Woodrow, who after being on the brink of death mere minutes before, was suddenly drastically improving.
Mr Higgs said by the time he was flown to Townsville he was cracking jokes.
"It cleared a blockage in his heart and blood flow was restored and his heart was able to pump blood through to his body," he said.
"I felt any moment he could go into cardiac arrest.
"I was glad when we administered it and we saw some positive changes."
Mr Woodrow was discharged after a few days in hospital.
Now on ten tablets a day, he's adopted a new healthy diet and is feeling better than he has in years.
He returned to Bowen earlier this year for the first time since his heart attack and personally thanked the paramedics who saved his life.
He said the experience has given him a new perspective.
"My body seems to have reprogrammed itself," he said.
"Before I used to get pretty excited and short tempered and let things get to me fairly often.
"Whereas now I don't care about them as much. It's settled me down and I'm a lot cooler."