If there’s one driving passion at the very heart of CPA, it’s protecting our clients’ most valuable assets. Invariably, those “assets” are the hardworking men and women who drive their businesses forward; who show up and put in everyday in, on, and around their worksites… often in very harsh, hazardous, and remote conditions.
The reason CPA’s teams are out there, on-site, shoulder-to-shoulder with our client’s teams, is the ever-present risk that something, somewhere, somehow might go wrong. And when it does, dialing 000 is not an option.
Here are a couple of recent examples perfectly illustrating why we do what we do:
CPA Docs and Medics To The Rescue… Twice:
Two Life-Threatening Anaphylaxis Episodes on Remote Offshore Site
“We were confronted with two separate and severely life-threatening anaphylaxis cases on our offshore LNG facility. CPA’s on-call doctor process worked perfectly. Each time, CPA’s doctors (Drs Scott Wilkinson and Andrew Peacock) provided prompt and expert advice over the phone, greatly assisting our on-site Emergency Response Teams (ERTs).
“The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) was delayed in both cases, due to other emergencies they were attending. In one case, QAS took an hour and fifteen minutes to reach the scene. Fortunately, CPA’s on-call doctor suggested treatment that had resuscitated the patient by the time the ambulance arrived.
“Both workers have now fully recovered and are back at work. We’re currently undertaking a process improvement review to see how we can improve the response time for QAS to the site.”
Site Rescue Paramedic
(Client name withheld)
“Just want to give you some feedback on Michael Williams (CPA Paramedic). We had a non-work related event on Thursday. It resulted in the injured person being escorted off the island with QAS. Our operations team really appreciate the expertise and support he supplied. This isn’t the first time he’s had to provide this support to our team. Just wanted to let you know. Myself and the Ops Manager have also passed on our appreciation to Michael.”
(Client name withheld)
18th February 2021
Heart-Stopping Moment on the High Seas
Cardiac Event on a Japanese Vessel in Timor Sea.
“I took a call at 23:50 from security on our afterhours mobile phone. He told me that a guy on a Japanese ship off the Karratha coast had just suffered a massive heart attack. I arrived on-scene at 00:10. En route, I phoned ahead to security to ensure everybody onboard was wearing PPE.
“The patient was way up on the top deck. Our client’s ERT team were already present and had the patient on the stretcher. Their ERT team leader, an ex-nurse, had done an amazing job. Her quick action had potentially saved this guy’s life.
“The patient was a big bloke and looked very pale. He still had severe chest pain. His coronary episode had started five hours earlier (at 7pm). Normally, you’ve got just six hours to save the heart muscle. And with it now being just after midnight, the time for intervention was slipping away.
“We needed to evacuate the patient quickly and safely. I considered rigging up a carry chair but CPR is more effective with the patient laid flat on a hard surface.
“The ERT team innovated a plan to attach a rope to the stretcher and then quickly slide the patient as gently and as steadily as possible down the stairs. Bear in mind, there was about 4 or 5 decks below us, and some staircases were barely wide enough to fit the stretcher.
“St John’s Ambulance were waiting for us onshore. They got him to Karratha hospital. Once stabilised, he was flown to Perth for further treatment. He’s since made a full recovery.”
So what were our learnings from this crisis situation?
- Team work is everything.
Despite working via a different doctor-on-call system from our other teams, I reached out to (CPA Medical Director) Dr Scott for advice. Despite the 2 hour time difference (i.e. 2am his time!), he was, as always, readily available and vitally helpful.
- Prep everyone in advance.
Make sure that all parties are stocked up with and have donned the PPE by the time you get there.
- Debrief afterwards.
The team had potentially exposed themselves by treating an unquarantined “arrival”. Following up with the team, we discussed and actioned COVID restrictions, testing, and isolation consequences post event.
“This event created a complex and difficult situation to deal with – a patient suffering one of the worst heart attacks I’ve seen aboard a foreign ship, with the threat of COVID looming over your shoulder. Despite this, all parties involved did an amazing job.
“I still love this job and would do it all again tomorrow.”