Bayswater volunteer driver saves patient’s life


Joan Reihana with Greg McKeaig, whose quick thinking saved her life.
Joan Reihana with Greg McKeaig, whose quick thinking saved her life.

BAYSWATER resident and St John Ambulance WA community transport volunteer Greg McKeaig has been recognised for helping to save Tapping resident Joan Reihana’s life on the first day they met.

Mr McKeaig (67) has been driving people who are unable to attend medical appointments for nine months.

In April, he drove Ms Reihana (79) to an appointment in Fremantle but noticed she was feeling unwell, so he assessed her condition and dialled triple zero.

While he had faced many emergency situations in the past, he said it was the first time he had called an ambulance.

“If we had gone and bolted off to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (her usual hospital) and something had happened, then we are at fault,” he said.

“So I called the ambulance, popped Joan on the trolley and the ambulance took her off to Fiona Stanley Hospital.

“Her kidney was the problem on the day, which is something that I was never going to diagnose on the road, even if I was qualified.”

Ms Reihana said she did not have any pain but struggled to breathe.

She said she had never put a driver in an emergency situation before and was very impressed at the way Mr McKeaig handled it.

“Greg was cool, calm and collected. It did not feel like I could walk back to the car, so I went on to the trolley and Greg pushed me out and helped me into the car,” she said.

“The paramedic put me on oxygen and it did not take long to get the oxygen back up again, but when he tried to get a pulse he couldn’t.”

Ms Reihana, who received treatment for her lack of magnesium and electrolytes, said she was grateful for Greg’s help that day.

St John patient transfer services general manager Richard Thomson said Mr McKeaig had used his first aid training to handle the difficult situation.

Opinion, page 9