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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

All’s well that ends well

26 Oct 2010

All’s well that ends well Image

By Alison Kinkade

The best place to have a heart “turn” is right in front of your cardiologist – just ask Jack Joel who almost died at a function in Docklands on October 9.

76-year-old Jack was tucking into his main course at the Epworth Healthcare Gala Ball at Peninsula at Central Pier when he began to choke on a chicken bone.

Epworth Health Care’s director of cardiology, Dr Ron Dick, said Mr Joel suffered a cardiac arrest after he began to choke.

“One minute he was talking animatedly to the person next to him and the next minute he had begun choking and blacked out,” Dr Dick said.

“If it had been a young person with no history of cardio problems they probably would have been fine but in this case he blacked out and his heart stopped,” he said.

Mr Joel, who was discharged from Epworth Hospital less than a week after his ordeal described himself as a very lucky man who had just been in the right place at the right time.

“If it had happened anywhere else I would have been dead, but I had a great team of people working on me,” Mr Joel said.

A team of four doctors, including Dr Dick who is Mr Joel’s cardiologist, provided CPR to get Mr Joel’s heart started.

Mr Joel said: “Though I don’t recall anything I have been told the story many times and I believe one doctor even bent a dessert spoon into a hook shape to try and dislodge the bone. Whether or not he succeeded I do not know, but it’s pretty amazing how inventive they can be.”

Mr Joel said he believed that they started CPR and had to work on him for 20 minutes before they could get a pulse and, had it been any longer, brain damage would certainly have been a worry.

“It was unbelievable but, then again, I’ve done many mad things in my life and I was just lucky that the doctors were so fantastic and that the venue handled it really well.”

Mr Joel said he would host a dinner party for the doctors who saved his life.

“We’ve already started organising something and will get the caterers in just to thank them all with their partners and have a celebratory dinner because I was really close to death.”

Mr Joel is keen to attend Epworth HealthCare’s Gala Ball next year saying that he has been a big supporter of Epworth for years, that they always look after him and he will continue to support them.

More than 1000 people from across Australia gathered at the Atlantic Group[v] venue for the second year running and raised a record $2.25 million for future teaching and research at the 90-year-old hospital.

Medtronic, an international supplier of medical supplies kicked off the capital appeal by donating $1million towards education and a further $1.25 million was raised throughout the night for research.

Epworth special events committee chair Robyn Beddison said the night rocked with enthusiasm and sensational support for Epworth.

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