Kaddy Fogarty and Adam Cuthbertson will never forget the moment they met Bruce Wright.
The three were competing in Tough Mudder, a 20 kilometre test of endurance, at Victoria’s Phillip Island in October last year when their lives collided.
Mr Wright and his son, Daniel, were just a few kilometres from the finish line when the 50-year-old aged care worker collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.
“I didn’t feel any pain except I’d had a stomach ache,” Mr Wright recalled.
Ms Fogarty, a General Surgical Nurse Unit Manager at Epworth Richmond, and Mr Cuthbertson, a Clinical Nurse Specialist, had just made it to the top of a mud-covered hill when they saw the situation unfolding.
It was then that instinct took over.
“He needed help immediately and we were there, so we ran back down the hill to help,” Mr Cuthbertson said.
Mr Cuthbertson started chest compressions while Ms Fogarty worked to keep Mr Wright’s airways clear until the first responders arrived with a defibrillator.
The Epworth HealthCare colleagues recall the crowd cheering and clapping when the Bendigo man’s heart restarted. But the pair sprung back into action when Mr Wright went into cardiac arrest a second time.
They resuscitated him again before a helicopter arrived to take Mr Wright to The Alfred hospital where he underwent a triple bypass.
“They told me my arteries were blocked solid,” the non-smoker and non-drinker said.
“There hadn’t been any history of cardiac arrest in our family, but it’s got to come down to genetics.”
Mr Wright has since made a full recovery, the final step of which occurred this week when he visited Epworth Richmond to thank his heroes.
“It was my lucky day,” he said.
While the two Epworth nurses are already preparing for their next Tough Mudder challenge, Mr Wright has happily accepted a ban from his wife and won’t be participating in the event.