Bravery award for Hillarys grandmother who saved husband

Margaret Walkerden with granddaughter Megan.
Margaret Walkerden with granddaughter Megan.

LITTLE did Hillarys grandmother Margaret Walkerden know discussions with her daughter about first aid would soon prove a lifesaver for her husband.

The Royal Life Saving Society WA (RLSSWA) will tomorrow night honour Mrs Walkerden with a bravery award for her quick thinking when husband Stanley suffered a heart attack at Whitford City shopping centre in July.

The society is paying tribute to Mrs Walkerden after seeing an article on the emergency in the Joondalup Weekender.

The 64-year-old mother-of-four immediately started chest compressions on her husband having recently discussed first aid response with her daughter.

Joondalup Health Campus director of cardiology Jenny Deague said Mrs Walkerden’s response to her husband’s crisis “really did save his life”.

Dr Deague emphasised chest compressions were key in the first few minutes of a heart attack, rather than mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which was “no longer strictly necessary” in such an emergency according to new guidelines.

“Mrs Walkerden knew this because of her daughter’s recent first-aid training knowledge and discussions they’d had at home,” she said.

“The main thing to remember is to take action quickly and start chest compressions – you don’t need to worry about how many breaths and how many compressions, you just need to get started.”

Extraordinarily, the intense situation caused Mrs Walkerden to have chest pain of her own, leading to a diagnosis of “broken heart syndrome”, which Dr Deague also treated.

She explained broken heart syndrome or Takotsubo’s cardiomyopathy was not very common but could be brought on by severe emotional stress.

Mrs Walkerden was treated with medication.

The RLSSWA will recognise Mrs Walkerden with a Gold Medallion at the Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards at Government House Ballroom.

She will be one of 20 WA residents acknowledged for their efforts in potentially deadly situations.

RLSSWA chief executive Peter Leaversuch said the recipients displayed “exceptional courage”.

“The bravery and commitment of these individuals in saving lives is an excellent example to all Western Australians and deserves our highest recognition,” he said.

“It sends the strongest message possible about the importance of obtaining lifesaving skills.”