Barrie Laws performed life-saving CPR on his best friend, Robert Scales, when the Banora Point resident's heart stopped with cardiac arrest in the middle of a table tennis game on Sunday, February 14.
Speaking on Thursday at John Flynn Hospital where Mr Scales is still recovering after having a pace maker fitted, Mr Laws welled with emotion as he recounted the harrowing ordeal.
"He just fell down over like a tree," he said.
"I went over to him, and he was in a comb position, with his leg caught underneath him.
"He looked terrible and he was grey and I thought he was dead.
"We worked together to put him on his back, and tilted his head to clear his airways.
"I asked Sandy (another club member) to do the breaths, then I got on the phone (to 000) and they said don't worry about the breaths, and just concentrate on the chest compressions."
No stranger to emergencies, Mr Laws, a former Melbourne Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services officer of 35 years, recalled his CPR training from over a decade ago.
"When I was doing the CPR I was just thinking, he's one of my best mates and he can't die, we go on holidays together, we don't want him to die," he said.
'I thought he was dead.'
Four minutes later an ambulance arrived, taking over the CPR, shocking Mr Scales back to life, before conveying him to Tweed Hospital, before John Flynn.
"(The Ambulance paramedic) said my rhythm was spot on," Mr Laws said.
"She said it was good CPR and even the hospital said it too, because Robert had no brain damage and he came out of it very well."
Mr Scales said he couldn't remember anything of the dramatic ordeal, but was thankful to his friend.
The good mates have spent eight years together, sharing holidays to Hawaii, Thailand and Hong Kong with their wives.
"I collapsed apparently and stopped breathing and Barrie resuscitated me," Ms Scales said.
"I'm thankful for him saving my life, naturally, I'm still here appreciating life. He's a nice guy."
Mr Laws said Alan Debreceny played a crucial role in phoning 000.
"It was just an automatic thing. As a firefighter I had done it probably five or 10 times, and most of the times they died ... Robert was a success story," Mr Laws joked.
A Queensland Ambulance spokesperson said bystanders performing CPR can mean the difference between life and death if performed correctly.
"It's an extremely valuable skill that could have an enormous impact on not only individuals, but the broader community," the spokesperson said.
"Residents can find out about CPR training at their local ambulance station."
Mr Scales, who served on the HMAS Batan Destroyer from 1950-51 before becoming a pharmacist, agreed: "The same thing can happened to anybody, particularly in our age bracket," he said.
"An awareness of CPR is what we really need, and I think everybody should learn how to do it. You can't compel people to do these things, you just have to show them the end result of CPR activity, which is me."
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