Granddad cheats death three times
JOE Liprino was saying goodbye to his wife as he went into cardiac arrest just moments after a massive heart attack.
He told young paramedic Alexandra Spence she was doing a great job, told his wife he loved her and to tell his two daughters the same, and prepared himself for the end.
But Ms Spence, 25, and back up crews were able to bring Mr Liprino back from death three times, after he suffered multiple cardiac arrests.
The Horseshoe Lagoon resident had been fishing the previous day and worked in the yard. He thought he'd suffered a muscular injury.
The chest pains began on April 19 and by the next day he was in serious trouble.
Te Giru station-based Ms Spence said Mr Liprino appeared "very unwell" when she arrived on the evening of April 20, after Mr Liprino's wife, Lynette, called triple-0.
Ms Spence said Mr Liprino had "quite a severe heart attack" while she was there.
"He pretty much died," she said.
Back-up was on the way from Townsville, a 30-45 minute drive, and Ms Spence used a defibrillator and anti-clotting medication to fight a blockage in a main artery near Mr Liprino's heart.
The drugs can cause stroke and have to be carefully administered.
Ms Spence and Mr and Mrs Liprino were reunited in Townsville on Monday, about 10 weeks after the local grandfather's brush with death.
"At the moment, this is the highlight of my career," Ms Spence said.
"It's very, very rare (to survive three cardiac arrests).
"I suppose my fingers were crossed, my toes were crossed, everything was crossed … we'd done all (we could)."
Mr Liprino had been expected to require open heart surgery, but needed only a stent in the artery for now.
He may have a defibrillator inserted in future.
"I think I'm the luckiest person on earth," the 61-year-old said.
"It's not something that you take for granted everyday."
Mrs Liprino said it had been an experience "you never want to go through".
She pleaded with people to stop assaulting paramedics, praising the efforts of those who saved her husband.
Townsville-based critical care paramedic Chris O'Connor said the Liprinos had been lucky Ms Spence's skill set was so advanced and praised her handling of the situation.
The 28-year veteran paramedic urged people experiencing chest pains to call for help, as time was critical to survival chances.