A teenage girl has described the panicky moments when she saved the life of a train passenger whose heart had stopped by performing CPR.
Alanah Dunstan, 18, said she noticed an older man breathing heavily after he rushed past her to board the Thornlie train line on Thursday.
“Two stops down and all of his muscles tightened or locked up, his arms flung towards his chest and he fell forward,” she told Radio 6PR on Tuesday.
Ms Dunstan, who had senior first aid training, and another woman sprang forward and immediately put the man in the recovery position.
“I yelled at this young girl to call triple zero, and then I yelled at another man on the train to tell the train driver,” she said.
Another passenger helped her search for the man’s pulse because she was shaking so much.
When his faint pulse disappeared, Ms Dunstan helped flip him on to his back and began CPR.
“Time went by so quickly,” she said. “We stopped at Burswood, the next (station) down, and the train driver came out and saw me giving CPR in the middle of the aisle, and he ran back into his carriage, and all of a sudden we were heading at break-neck speed back down to Perth, where the ambulances met us.”
Ms Dunstan said she only happened to be on the train at that time because she had not realised it was a public holiday and had gone to work.
She hoped that anyone listening would be inspired to learn how to do CPR.
Nicole Berna told 6PR her brother-in-law Gustavo Berna was the man whose life was saved by Ms Dunstan’s quick-thinking actions.
She said Mr Berna had suffered a cardiac arrest and doctors had initially told family members it was possible he would not survive or would have brain damage if he did.
“It’s just amazing and we’re beyond grateful,” she said. “It’s really a testament to the CPR Alanah did, the fact that he’s alive and on Saturday morning, when they turned the sedation down, he opened his eyes and looked at us and started talking. It’s really nothing short of a miracle.
“It just goes to show the importance of CPR,” Ms Berna added.
“I myself am a nurse, so I understand everything that she’s done, but it’s even the fact of how brave she was to actually do it and act in that moment — because it’s like a split-second decision that she made to do that … minutes and even seconds are so precious when that situation occurs.”