Registered Nurse Samantha Campbell from Kempsey District Hospital.

Superstars of health are never off duty

Jun 10, 2024

When Kempsey District Hospital’s Emergency Registered Nurse Samantha Campbell went to work out at her local gym instead of playing her regular weekend game of soccer, little did she know that she would end up saving someone’s life.

The Kempsey local was off duty, pounding the treadmill, doing what she does on her weekend off when she saw a man in distress. 

“It was on a Saturday so there was no regular staff at the gym, when I noticed that there were some younger people helping out a man who had collapsed. He got back up but then went down again,” Ms Campbell said.

Samantha’s years of medical training were about to pay off – after calling Triple 000 she asked another member of the gym to grab the defibrillator and sprang into action.

“Initially, I thought he might have had a seizure as he was shaking. I put him on his side but when I looked at him again, he was completely blue. Getting him onto his back and with the defib pads on, I started CPR,” she said.

“It was the first time I’ve had to do CPR on a real person, I’ve worked on lots of dummies in my training and had only just completed my Advanced Life Support Course a couple of weeks prior, so it was fresh in my mind.”

Once the defib pads were on, Samantha gave two rounds of CPR and one shock of the defib, and with that, she was able to get a pulse, just as Ambulance officers arrived at the scene.

“They finally got some colour back into him and took him to Kempsey District Hospital, where they stabilised him before sending him onto Port Macquarie Base Hospital,” she said.

In the following weeks, the man’s family reached out to Samantha to thank her personally for being at the right place at the right time, with the right training.

“At first, I was beating myself up a little bit because I didn’t think that I did CPR fast enough, but once the family reached out to me and let me know that he has had a pacemaker fitted and he’s back to his baseline, I felt okay about it,” she said.

“I’m very glad that I was there, and I am very glad I am a nurse.”

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