14 Feb 2024
Bruce from Masterton

"It’s pretty difficult and emotional reflecting on this whole event, I try my best to forget it, but it’s all too easy to think, what if the nurse hadn’t been there, the Westpac Chopper hadn’t been there, or if anything had just taken a bit longer."

Bruce was a hard-working Masterton resident, operating diggers and spending his time on construction sites, often working seven days a week with early hours and late dinners.

On a beautiful summer day, Bruce was digging a trench for a plumbing job on a private home. Bruce started feeling dazed, exhausted, and as though he had a bad case of indigestion.

“It really wasn’t ringing any alarm bells for me; It was as if I had too many antacids.”

As he stumbled out of the high driver’s seat and sat down on a nearby incline, the homeowner, a retired nurse, came rushing out of the house recognising the early signs of a heart attack.

In an instant, Bruce was unconscious.

One of Bruce’s major arteries was completely blocked, a STEMI heart attack, restricting and then stopping his heart from beating. Given the time-sensitive nature of the attack and his distance from Wellington Hospital, Life Flight’s Westpac Chopper became the crucial tool to save his life.

Only 8 minutes after getting the call, the Life Flight team were on their way to Bruce.

When Bruce regained consciousness, he was surrounded by the Fire Brigade, Paramedics, and Life Flight’s Westpac Chopper crew. He was heading straight for the helipad on Wellington Hospital.

Bruce spent the next five days in the Hospital where a stent was inserted to open the blocked artery. Thanks to a swift response, the crisis had been averted.

Bruce is full of admiration and appreciation for the first responders, Westpac Chopper crew, and donors who make this service possible.

“Without all these people, I might not be here today. Thank you for donating and keeping the Westpac Chopper going. They’re doing an incredible job.”