Michael Murphy was holidaying in the beachside town with his family at the end of January when he began suffering chest pain while helping clear a bogged vehicle.
The Mt Nasura resident’s family took him to the Silver Chain Lancelin Health Centre, where clinical nurse manager Rosie Clarke confirmed an emergency situation.
In the past, crucial treatment for Mr Murphy might have been delayed while he was in an ambulance to Joondalup Health Campus 100km away.
But the Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) has eased that risk.
Installed in December last year, the service provides a video link to an emergency doctor who advises nurses on how to stabilise patients before they are taken to hospital.
Mr Murphy was in a worrying state by the time his image was beamed to a doctor in Perth.
“I was trying to stay calm so I didn’t panic, but I really didn’t know what was happening; it was a scary situation,” he said.
“The nurse on the ground was absolutely marvellous, as was the ETS doctor based in Perth. After heart surgery in Perth, I’m now on the road to recovery.
“If it wasn’t for ETS, everything could be very different though.
“I’m sure I would have made it to hospital but the damage to my heart could have been much greater.”
ETS medical director Robert Graydon said a timely response was imperative for patients suffering a heart attack.
He described the critical response to Mr Murphy’s condition.
“Thanks to the ETS, a doctor could be present at the Lancelin Health Centre within seconds,” he said.
“We were then able to immediately recognise that Mr Murphy’s symptoms suggested an acute myocardial infarction, or a heart attack.
“The ETS doctor ordered for medication to be administered that would treat the symptoms of a heart attack by re-establishing the circulation of blood to the heart.
“This can only be administered on the order of a doctor familiar with this medication.”
Importantly, the emergency team was able to organise a helicopter to fly Mr Murphy to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, which was best equipped to handle his condition.
Had he been taken by ambulance, he would have been driven to Joondalup Health Campus, which was not optimal for the situation.