Suffering A Heart Attack While On Call, A Paramedic Saves His Own Life

Putting decades of experience as a paramedic to the ultimate test, a man kept his cool while on the job and diagnosed himself with suffering a major heart attack.

Ambulance in Victoria, Australia. Wikimedia Commons: Liamdavies

While on duty, an Australian paramedic began experiencing "crushing chest pain and tingles down both arms." As reported by 9News, he was able to stay calm, diagnose himself with a heart attack, and rush himself to the hospital using his own ambulance. 

"I thought, 'Oh, that's not right,'" David Watson, 52, told an Australian radio program

Using his own electrocardiography machine (ECG), Watson discovered that his heartbeat was dangerously irregular and was able to confirm that he was in the midst of a major heart attack. Having been a paramedic for 25 years, he knew exactly what to do and realized that his only chance of survival was himself.

His body under deadly stress, Watson still managed to drive almost a mile to the nearest emergency room.

"Trying to save my heart muscle, I took myself in the ambulance to the hospital, and rang their doorbell and told them I had chest pain," he explained to a news conference at Ambulance Victoria.

He was airlifted to another hospital for treatment. There, doctors removed a clot from one of his arteries.

"I was awake the whole time. They removed a clot and put a stent in," Watson remembered. "I'm lucky to be alive because I was so quick to get on to it, because I was able to self-diagnose."

Michael Wells, a Mobile Intensive Care paramedic, told reporters at an Ambulance Victoria press conference that it was Watson's "calm thinking" and self-diagnosis that ultimately saved his life.

Described by his wife as a "fit" man, 9News noted that Watson and his employers have still decided to take precautions to ensure he is completely recovered and healthy before going back to work. His supervisors have given him two months off to rest and recover, and Watson has removed all junk food from his home.

Once he is in the clear, he will go back to saving lives, but hopefully, he won't have to save his own again.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Max Pixel

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