A Western Bulldogs fan who missed the Doggies 2016 Grand Final win, after his heart stopped at the MCG, is yet to decide if he will watch this year’s game.
Rob McCarthy, who turns 70 in December, was at the 2016 Grand Final with his sister-in-law who barracks for the Swans. He had experienced heart palpitations through the day and collapsed and went into cardiac arrest, ten minutes before the final siren.
“I hadn’t seen the Doggies win for 63 years and God decided to kill me ten minutes before the siren, which I thought was rather cruel,” Rob joked.
“I never got to see them win”.
Sitting six seats away, an off-duty paramedic started CPR on Rob until the MCG first aid team and paramedics arrived.
“I was unconscious for an hour and when I was moved onto the stretcher, I sat up and asked if the Doggies won and I was told, yes, they did”. He gave the thumbs up and the remaining crowd clapped and cheered.
The Bulldogs fan was taken to Epworth Richmond where he was treated by cardiologist Associate Professor Nicholas Cox.
“We took him to the cardiac catheterisation lab where he had coronary stenting to a critical stenosis. He then spent nine days in hospital recovering,” A/Prof Cox said.
“He was lucky that all the links in the chain of survival for cardiac arrest were available to him on the day. He had his arrest witnessed by others who were able to call for help. CPR was started and there was an onsite defibrillator. He was rapidly transferred to Epworth where we were waiting to take him directly to the cath lab to unblock his artery and insert a coronary stent.”
Rob watches less football these days and says he was too nervous to watch all of the Bulldogs’ preliminary final against Port Adelaide. He had kept an eye on the score and watched the last ten minutes, when he was confident enough the Doggies would win.
The five-year anniversary of Rob’s cardiac arrest coincides with the 40th anniversary of cardiac care at Epworth.
Cardiac pioneer Dr Graeme Sloman AO became the first medical director at Epworth and established our first cardiology unit in 1981. The first open heart cardiac surgery operation in a Victorian private hospital was performed at Epworth Richmond in September that year.