MIRACLE MAN: East Ballina’s Jim Gibson (front, centre) with his rescuers Al Gray (front, left), Samantha Jones (front, right) and ambulance officers (from left) Dave Custer, Ryan Schultz and Ron Visman (absent: paramedic James Hawley).
MIRACLE MAN: East Ballina’s Jim Gibson (front, centre) with his rescuers Al Gray (front, left), Samantha Jones (front, right) and ambulance officers (from left) Dave Custer, Ryan Schultz and Ron Visman (absent: paramedic James Hawley). Graham Broadhead

Life’s second chance for Jim

EAST Ballina's Jim Gibson is a "miracle man", and now has a medal to show for it.

But far more important to the 71-year-old was sharing his only grandchild Abbey's first Christmas - a moment he was very lucky to be part of. It's lucky he's alive.

He is now one of the 7% of people who survive a cardiac arrest outside a hospital, and was presented with a NSW Ambulance Service Cardiac Arrest Survivor medallion last Friday at Ballina ambulance station, and got to meet the people who saved his life.

Back in October, Jim was finishing his daily swim in Shaws Bay.

After leaving the water, he collapsed.

Also at the Bay was Ballina's Al Gray on his stand-up paddleboard and driving past was Samantha Jones, from Patchs Beach.

Others at the bay surrounded Jim to help, including Anne Sharpe and Pam Steel who are friends.

Samantha, who is trained in first aid, stopped her vehicle and went to help - she had a resuscitation face mask on her keyring. She led the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with Al assisting.

Ballina intensive care paramedic, Ron Visman arrived within minutes, joined by paramedics Dave Custer, James Hawley and Ryan Schultz. Jim received two defibrillator shocks from paramedics before being transported to Ballina hospital.

"All I want to say is thanks to everyone," Jim said at the presentation of the medallion. He said he appreciated everyone who was involved in helping him, from those who were at the bay on the day to the ambos and the hospital staff.

He said he was recovering well and was back in the water.

Paramedic Ron Visman said Jim's story highlighted how important it was for community members to know CPR. He said the vital minutes between when a bystander phones 000 and when paramedics arrive can make the difference between life and death.



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