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Monday, July 16, 2007Death Of 20Minutes
FOR 20 minutes, Danielle Hogno was clinically dead.
She lay lifeless on the floor after suffering a heart attack at work.
She wasn't breathing and had no pulse.
The 18-year-old owes her life to one man - workmate Graham Meyer, who fought desperately to resuscitate her until the ambulance arrived.
Doctors say Danielle's survival is a miracle that hinged on Mr Meyer's efforts performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), breathing air into her lungs and pumping her chest, which fed oxygen to her brain.
"She was gone. She'd gone blue in the face and her eyes were black pools,'' said Mr Meyer, "a stubborn bugger'' who never gives up.
In an eerie coincidence, Mr Meyer, 59, was also saved from the brink of death - at 18 - from drowning.
Doctors who treated Danielle at Tamworth Base Hospital last month told her parents it was a one-in-15-million chance that she survived without brain damage.
The number of people who suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital and fully recover is just two per cent.
But after a month of intensive hospital treatment, including surgery to fit a defibrillator pacemaker, Danielle is on the slow road to recovery.
John Hunter Hospital cardiologist Jim Leitch said Mr Meyer undoubtedly saved Danielle's life.
"She's very lucky and this demonstrates the importance of bystanders doing CPR,'' Dr Leitch said.
"It's nothing short of a miracle. She was down for 20 minutes,'' Danielle's father Barry said tearfully from his Armidale home, in NSW's north.
The near-death experience occurred on May 4 when Danielle, a trainee manager for Big W at Tamworth, collapsed.
A worker screamed for help and Mr Meyer, a manager, dashed upstairs and began CPR.
"I knew I was making progress because I saw the colour in her face changing,'' he said.
"I didn't even hear the ambulances arrive. All I felt was a tap on the shoulder and I think the bloke said: "The cavalry are here''.
Mr Meyer fell to the floor, gasping for breath: "It took me a good seven minutes to get my breath back''.
Paramedics tried three times with adrenalin injections and a defibrillator before Danielle's heart started.
"When she started to breath, I said to the ambos: 'You blokes are bloody marvellous','' Mr Meyer said.
But it was the manager whom the paramedics have praised.
Mr Meyer, who had had CPR training through work, had bruising around the mouth from giving mouth-to-mouth and suffered sleeping problems.
"I was offered counselling, but Danielle's recovery is my medicine,'' he said.
Mr Meyer said saving Danielle was not heroic, "just a duty'', and an opportunity to give someone else a second chance at life "as I was given all those years ago''.
As for Danielle, her boyfriend Scott Dowton proposed recently and she has plans for a long life.
``Everything happens for a reason. There's a bigger plan for everyone. I probably should be dead,'' she said.