St John honours a good Samaritan

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Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
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St John Ambulance honoured volunteers and helpers.
Camera IconSt John Ambulance honoured volunteers and helpers. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

A passing motorist who helped an elderly man when he fell unconscious while driving in Geraldton recently has been rewarded by St John Ambulance.

On May 17, Elizabeth Newman was driving along Durlacher Street, approaching the traffic lights at the intersection of Chapman Road, when a car travelling next to her stopped abruptly about 10m from the lights.

“It was just an odd thing to do,” she said.

“I pulled alongside him and mouthed the words ‘are you OK?’ through the window and he shook his head and then just fell unconscious.”

The 45-year-old early childhood teacher and Geraldton resident said her instincts instantly kicked in and she sprang into action.

“I turned my car off and jumped out, ran around to his car, and then rang triple-0 and cared for him while we waited for help,” Mrs Newman said.

As the man fell in and out of consciousness, Mrs Newman followed the instructions of the triple-0 phone operator until police arrived.

“I was encouraged to just ensure he kept breathing, that he didn’t change colour or state, and to keep him calm and make sure we were both safe in that location,” she said.

Mrs Newman said with the help of several passersby, the situation was handled without panic.

One man moved her car to a safe location, while another woman kept watch of traffic to ensure everyone’s safety until police arrived.

“It was really great teamwork — people were really considerate and respectful; it was actually quite a lovely community experience,” Mrs Newman said.

“The police were outstanding — they were really quick to respond and very kind.

“Then the ambulance came and took over, and fortunately it was a really great outcome.”

A St John Ambulance spokeswoman said the man fell unconscious because of low blood sugar and had since recovered.

On Tuesday night, Mrs Newman was recognised for her actions at a function to thank volunteers at St John’s Geraldton sub-centre.

She was also given a first aid kit for her car and a voucher for a first aid course.

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