Paul had the life-saving flight he needed thanks to you


For Aucklander Paul, a trip south to the Edwardian Spa town of Te Aroha to visit the grave of a recently discovered relative led to a frightening and life-threatening experience. 

Having enjoyed a weekend wandering the small Waikato town, Paul and his partner Rae headed up to the cemetery before heading back to Auckland. However, Paul and Rae’s relaxing plans soon took a dramatic turn when Paul suddenly became ill with a pain in his chest and struggling to breathe.    

Not knowing anyone in Te Aroha, Rae had to think quickly as her partner's condition was deteriorating.  The only place she could think of to get help was the café they had visited during their stay, and thankfully for the couple, only a short drive from where their ordeal was unfolding. 

While the café owner’s daughter ran across the road to the local medical centre to get help, the café owner pulled Paul out of the car and began CPR. First responders were soon on the scene, and a doctor and two nurses from the medical centre arrived soon after with a defibrillator. 

Time was critical for Paul and the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was dispatched. The local fire service quickly cleared the roads of central Te Aroha ready for the rescue helicopter to land in the middle of the intersection. 

On arrival Critical Care Flight Paramedic (CCFP) Simon assessed Paul’s condition and used rapid sequence intubation – an advanced airway management used in trauma situations - to keep Paul alive. CCFP Simon remembers Paul’s mission and the challenge he faced, using all his intensive skills, to ensure Paul made it to the hospital. Thankfully for Paul, he was in experienced hands with Simon, and Waikato Hospital was just a short 15-minute flight away.  

On arrival at the hospital, Paul was rushed into emergency heart surgery for a blocked left artery requiring two stents. 

Paul is hugely grateful to the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew who flew to his side that day.  

Life-saving missions like Paul’s are only made possible with support from amazing donors like you. Thank you for helping your crew save lives.