’Ticking time bomb’: Runner brought back from the dead
PAUL Reball had just passed the 3km mark in August 25’s Bridge to Brisbane run when he felt the blood drain from his legs.
His body collapsed to the pavement and for five minutes, he was clinically dead.
The next thing he remembered was waking up in the emergency department and being told that a heart attack like his had a two per cent chance of survival.
He had beaten those near-impossible odds thanks to Madison Leighton-Jones (a course paramedic from Yeppoon) and an off-duty doctor Jeff Hooper.
The pair have now been nominated for a Pride of Australia award.
The 59-year-old Morayfield massage therapist, who worked in Blackwater as a miner from 1975-83, is recovering from a heart bypass surgery he had on September 9 and doing physiotherapy.
A few days ago, Mr Reball had the chance to meet his saviours, but admitted that he couldn’t recall their faces.
“I’m a lucky man. I had three blockages in my heart that could have been fatal but I’m still here now to tell the tale,” he said.
“Jeff was running 50m behind me with his son and saw me drop and he went straight to me and started CPR.”
However, Mr Reball was unresponsive.
Fortunately, Ms Leighton-Jones arrived with a defibrillator and oxygen minutes later.
“I don’t know what sequence the paddles were but apparently I was trying to sit up and I said my name and where I was but I don’t remember.”
Mr Reball thanked the fast-acting doctor and paramedic who literally brought him back from death.
“They know how I feel. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them,” he said.
Mr Reball plans to return to the annual event next year, with Ms Jones and Dr Hooper walking alongside him and his family.
“Everyone should know how to do CPR just in case,” Mr Reball said.
“I update my skills every year. You just never know.”
Mr Reball is “fit and eats well”, but has a family history of heart attacks, including one that took his grandfather’s life at 59.
“I was a ticking time bomb. I’ll definitely get screened all the time now,” he said.