Aviator saves mate’s life with CPR

For the past 14 years, Leading Aircraftman Thomas Finlayson has completed annual first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training as part of his compulsory duties.

CAPTIONLeading Aircraftman Thomas Finlayson (left) with the Gold Commendation he received for providing first aid assistance to Jeff Goodwin (right), during the Warrant Officer of the Air Force visit to RAAF Base Richmond. Story by Mrs Tastri Murdoch. Photos by LAC Chris Tsakisiris.

As an aviation technician with 37 Squadron, keeping his qualification current provides him with the knowledge, confidence and skills to stay calm in a medical emergency and help a person in need.

These skills became necessary in an off-duty situation and earned Leading Aircraftman Finlayson a Defence gold commendation for his life-saving actions.

When participating in a local cricket match and teammate Jeff Goodwin collapsed, Leading Aircraftman Finlayson’s first aid and CPR training kicked in.

“As I made my way to Mr Goodwin, he was on his back having a seizure and going blue in the face,” Leading Aircraftman Finlayson said.

“I did a quick assessment of the cricket field and determined there was no immediate danger.”

Two other teammates had already called 000 and Mr Goodwin was gasping for air in short, sharp breaths.

When the seizure subsided, Leading Aircraftman Finlayson acted with speed and superior leadership skills to successfully deliver CPR.

“At one point I looked up whilst giving compressions to see if the gate was open for the ambulance to access the field, but when I noticed it was closed I screamed to have it opened,” he said.

“The 000 medical operator provided guidance on the time and depth of compressions.

“I kept the compressions going for 13 minutes until the paramedics arrived, only stopping when advised by the 000 medical support to listen to Mr Goodwin’s breathing.”

The chance of delivering CPR successfully outside of hospital is exceptionally low; a fact recognised in Leading Aircraftman Finlayson’s gold commendation:

“On this day, your leadership and first aid has been recognised as having directly contributed to saving this individual’s life, of which there was only an 8 per cent chance of survival outside of a hospital, the award reads. Your life-saving actions have not only helped an individual and their family, they have enhanced the reputation of the ADF in the local community.”

Mr Goodwin spent 72 hours in an induced coma, with Leading Aircraftman Finlayson continuing to check on his progress.

“A few days after the incident I was told Mr Goodwin was awake in hospital and responding well to treatment,” Leading Aircraftman Finlayson said.

“It felt amazing to know I had saved his life.

“For all those who do the training, please pay attention as you may need it one day.”

Mr Goodwin and his wife, Sonia Goodwin, thanked Leading Aircraftman Finlayson for coming to the rescue.

“I’m just happy to be here,” Mr Goodwin said.

Mrs Goodwin said: “No words come close to describing how incredibly grateful I am that Leading Aircraftman Finlayson was playing that day and provided life-saving CPR that ensured my beautiful husband is alive today”.

“Any recognition that comes his way is well and truly deserved.”


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