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October 2019

3 people in emergency department jpeg

Beck and Riley Gourlay with emergency department operations director Trish O’Neill.

Frankston Hospital ED team saves asthma patient

Dromana mother Beck Gourlay always thought asthma was mild but she discovered she was wrong.

‘Asthma is deadly,’ Ms Gourlay said.

Her son, Riley, does not usually suffer from asthma but a perfect storm of bushfire smoke and a cold left the four-year-old struggling to breathe.

‘Riley was fine, playing on the playground, but then he started to need more and more Ventolin,’ said Ms Gourlay, who already had an asthma management plan in place for when Riley had a cold.

‘I took him to Frankston Hospital emergency department.

‘Riley was well enough to walk into hospital, though he was crying and upset about not being able to breathe properly.’

After starting treatment to help his breathing, Riley become agitated.

‘He started screaming like nothing I have heard in my life.

‘It was like someone was falling off a cliff.

‘Then his eyes rolled backwards, the nurses pressed a button and everyone came running.’

Riley was in respiratory arrest.

‘I watched as they put tubes in him and put him on three different IVs, including one that went into his bone marrow to get the medication into his blood stream faster.

‘His chest wasn’t even moving, that’s how full it was – he had trapped carbon dioxide in his lungs.’

Ms Gourlay described the emergency department team as amazing.

‘Everyone had their place and I knew to step back and let them work.

‘The doctor checked if I was OK and asked if I had any questions.

‘I said, Is he going to survive?

‘He hasn’t even started kinder yet.’

The ED team saved Riley’s life that night.

By 10 o’clock the next morning, he regained consciousness and was back to his usual happy self.

A few weeks later, Riley started kindergarten and is loving it.

‘Thanks to the staff at Frankston ED, Riley is a happy kindergarten student – they saved his life.’