Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

From Mundane Monday To Shocking Survival

The Vital Importance Of Workplace Defibrillators

Just another mundane Monday turned into a life-altering experience at Jennmar Australia last month.

Dylan Holmes, a 42-year-old employee, was having a casual conversation with a colleague on February 6, when suddenly he collapsed. The shocking incident could have been fatal if not for the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) installed at the workplace.

With a jolt of electricity, the AED jump-started his heart, and Holmes was given a second chance at life. Grateful for the presence of the life-saving device, he's now an ardent supporter of having AEDs in every workplace.

Mr Holmes suffered a cardiac arrest and was fortunate to be in a workplace which had an AED installed.

“One minute I was talking to a mate and the next minute I was on the ground,” he said.

“Lucky the boss started compressions and the defib did the rest, so I’m very lucky.”

Mr Holmes acknowledges that his survival on that day was the result of the combined efforts of his workmates at Jennmar Australia, the Queensland Ambulance team who were soon on site and the Mackay Base Hospital’s emergency, cardiac and intensive care teams who provided surgery and follow-up care.

Mackay Base Hospital cardiologist Dr Dominika Budzbon said that Mr Holmes’ cardiac arrest was caused by a very fast and abnormal heart rhythm.

“After a period of stabilisation in hospital, we decided he needs protection from any possible event like that in the future.”

Dr Budzbon explained that Mr Holmes became the first patient in Mackay to receive an implant of a subcutaneous defibrillator (ICD).

“This is a clever and highly programmable processor which recognises dangerous heart rhythms and works out what to do with it,” Dr Budzbon said.

“It is suitable for patients who only need a device to shock the heart, and do not need the support of a pacemaker as well.

“He is young and he will have this for many years, and we can minimise risk by using this device, rather than the traditional one.”

Mr Holmes spent 10 days recovering in the Intensive Care, Cardiac Care and Rehabilitation Units before being discharged home. His remote monitoring system collects data from the implanted ICD and sends it to the hospital’s Clinical Measurements team to review.

He was an advocate for workplace defibrillators even before his close call but is even more so now.

“I believe all workplaces should have them; they’re a lifesaver,” he said.

“I can’t believe what’s happened. I’m lucky that I’m still around and I’m lucky that I had the people to help me when it was needed,” Dylan said.

“From the blokes at Jennmar to ambulance workers that rocked up …. all the doctors and nurses – everyone’s been awesome.”

Dylan Holmes became the first patient in Mackay to receive an implant of a subcutaneous defibrillator (ICD) after suffering a cardiac arrest at work last month. Image: Mackay Hospital and Health Services

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