Natalie Fullagar at Gold Coast University Hospital with some of her rescuers.
Natalie Fullagar at Gold Coast University Hospital with some of her rescuers.

‘I owe them my life’: Mum tells of heart attack drama

A Gold Coast mum of young twins, who suffered a shock heart attack on a beach last weekend, has fought back tears as she thanked rescuers for keeping her alive to spend Christmas with her kids.

Natalie Fullagar, 44, just thought she had a stitch as she was celebrating a friend's birthday on Wavebreak Island in the Southport Broadwater last Saturday.

But the mother of 20-month-old twins went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the sand.

As fate would have it, an off-duty doctor and nurse were both on the beach that day and immediately sprung into action, performing CPR.

Just off the beach, performing some training in their boat were the members of Southport Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) with Queensland Ambulance Service paramedic Adam Watson on board.

 

Natalie Fullager at Gold Coast University Hospital with some of her rescuers.
Natalie Fullager at Gold Coast University Hospital with some of her rescuers.

 

They were flagged down and raced to the beach where Mr Watson shocked Ms Fullager back to life with a defibrillator.

The VMR vessel then took her back to the mainland where she was met by an ambulance which took her to Gold Coast University Hospital.

She had an emotional reunion with her hero lifesavers on Friday at the hospital, where she doctors are implanting a defib in her chest to prevent a repeat of the near-tragedy.

Ms Fullager, who remembers nothing about the day apart from getting the 'stitch' while playing games on the beach, said she would not be 'here today' were it not for her rescuers.

"I owe them my life," she said.

"I'm not ready to go, obviously, and leaving my kids would have been really hard. They need a mum. If that rescue boat didn't go past, this would have been completely different.

"I wouldn't be standing here today. It's luck they are out there and we need to get behind them and support them."

 

Natalie Fullager with twins Nate and Ally.
Natalie Fullager with twins Nate and Ally.

 

Mr Watson said he was chuffed to have helped save Ms Fulllager's life by 'giving her a little bit of a jump'.

"It was all a team effort … all the stars aligned for her that day," he said.

"Finding out that she had little kids was a good bonus; our Christmas present for her."

QAS critical care paramedic Gary Berkowitz said the happy outcome showed the value of defibrillators which could be bought by the public from about $2000.

Originally published as 'I owe them my life': Mum tells of heart attack drama


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