Rescuers save woman's life, two days after training

NZ Red Cross
Lisa Young's heart was kick-started by an AED (Automated External Defibrilator) and three brave rescuers, after she fell off stage at a prizegiving. Photo credit: NZ Red Cross

Lisa Young says she was "feeling fine" on the night she suffered a cardiac arrest and fell from a stage at the feet of her rescuers.

Young, who is the Cashmere Technical Football Club operations manager, was on stage at the Woolston Club helping hand out awards to the club’s players and support crew.

"I was fine. I didn't feel funny or anything but then I woke up the next morning in ICU," Young says.

It so happens she fell at the feet of two physiotherapists who had, just two days prior, completed CPR training.

"When I fell off stage no one was sure what was happening. At first, people assumed it was a seizure, but then, I wasn’t breathing."

Physiotherapist Emma Kelly immediately started CPR, as fellow physiotherapist Laura Meagher and Woolston Club bar manager Amy Cooney grabbed the club’s recently-purchased Powerheart G5 AED (Automated External Defibrillator).

NZ Red Cross
Celebrating saving Lisa's life at the Woolston Club where she had her cardiac arrest. Photo credit: NZ Red Cross

Young received up to six shocks from the AED to get her heart back into a natural rhythm.

The rescuers say they just followed the AED prompts and kept her airway open.

"I was so very lucky that night, and I’m so thankful," Young says.

"If my cardiac arrest had happened somewhere else, then the outcome wouldn’t have been so good."

The ambulance took Young to hospital, where she spent around 10 days, and had a defibrillator implanted.

"My heart’s fine now, and I may never need to use the defib - but you never know."

She strongly believes there should be more AEDs in the community.

Young, an avid hiker and part-time Pilates instructor, was in good health prior to her cardiac arrest, and says she would never have known she was at risk of having a cardiac arrest.

"That’s why it’s so important community groups fundraise and install AEDs - you never know when you’ll need to use it."

New Zealand Red Cross honoured Young’s rescuers for their lifesaving CPR and defibrillation.

"New Zealand Red Cross wishes Lisa and her family the best of luck for the future, and once again congratulate the members of the CTFC and Woolston club for their lifesaving response," the organisation said.

To find out more about Red Cross defibrillators and how your workplace or community organisation can be involved in its AED program, click here or email for details.

This article was created for NZ Red Cross.