It is an oft-repeated saying that you never know when an accident might happen next. Stu Husband, a dairy farmer and councillor from New Zealand, certainly wasn’t expecting an emergency situation when he first boarded a flight home from Japan. With 6 hours of the flight left to go, the first aider suddenly felt a kicking behind his chair and 14 years of first response training kicked into gear.
The woman behind him wasn’t breathing. Her skin had turned blue and she had no pulse. According to Mr Husband, it was pretty obvious that no air was coming out of her and he couldn’t manage to work a pulse. Not prepared to give up on the lady, whose daughter was sitting next to her, he decided to give her a ‘massive big thrust’ on her sternum. Whilst this produced signs of life the woman still could not breathe.
Fearing the worst, Mr Husband put his finger in her mouth to clear any potential blockage that may have been present. He explains:
“I got my finger and went in her mouth and did a bit of a finger sweep, next thing: ‘Ahhhh’, she took a massive big gasp in. She was right on the brink, right on the brink of walking out the door. We cared for her right through and kept doing her vitals and looking after her. I managed to get her blood pressure off her, they had a blood pressure kit on the plane, so she actually had pretty good blood pressure and she was away.”
First Aid Training
Like many people, Mr Husband had never thought that he would actually find himself in a real-world situation where he had to save a life, despite the fact that he worked in the fire service for 14 years.
“You think, when am I ever going to use it? You never know, I would’ve never thought that would’ve happened I’ve never actually one-on-one saved anyone like that,” he said. “Yeah, I guess I’ve pulled people out of fires and that but the one-on-one feeling where these people could die in the next second if you don’t do something. It was a good feeling.”
It just goes to show that the value of first-aid knowledge can never be underestimated. The more people with first aid training the more chances there are that people like the woman who fell ill on the plane can be saved.
The UK is home to some of the finest first-aid training courses in the world. Anyone inspired by this story can easily find a course local to them by searching online. Life is precious and we should all do as much as we can to help our fellow human beings. Had Mr Husband not been trained, the situation may have turned out very differently indeed. The family of the lady that he saved wanted to offer a financial reward but Mr Husband refused and insisted he was not a hero.