Urangan butcher Mark Irving and wife Edwina who saved him when he had a heart attack.
Urangan butcher Mark Irving and wife Edwina who saved him when he had a heart attack. Alistair Brightman

Wife saves hubby

THE value of life isn't lost on Urangan Butchery owner Mark Irving. But then again, turning blue from lack of oxygen while your wife performs CPR to get you breathing can change a man.

Mr Irving's heart attack came in the night, while the rest of his family slept. It arrived without warning, either for him or his wife, Edwina, a trained nurse and Hervey Bay rugby league medic of more than a decade.

"I just thought he was having a fit, like he had taken one of the dog's worming tablets or something by mistake, because he was grunting and moving around on his back," Ms Irving said.

Only minutes earlier the butcher had complained of pain in his back and taken paracetamol. But it wasn't his back - it was myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle often caused by common viral infections presenting as flu symptoms.

"The doctors asked me if I had been sick and I said I hadn't been able to shake the flu for a few months," Mr Irving said.

Later, surgeons inserted a small defibrillator - about 6cm by 4cm - into Mr Irving's chest.

The device has a wire which connects to his heart and if it detects an irregular beat, it shocks the heart back into its correct rhythm.

Mr Irving said his wife's knowledge of CPR, and the quick arrival of ambulance officers, had saved his life.

He said he had decided to share his experience to highlight the importance of CPR and to thank Hervey Bay hospital staff for their efforts.



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