Saving Mark on Christmas Day

Mark's story

"I had no warning of what was about to happen to me on Christmas Day."

We'll be here for you.

Our nurses are at the frontline, providing compassion and kindness every day and every night. Sarah, a Cardiac Nurse, saved Mark's life on Christmas Day. We need your help today, supporting our nurses who work every day and every night, 365 days a year, helping people like Mark.

On Christmas Day, Mark's heart stopped beating.

"It was my turn to cook Christmas brekky for my sons, partner and parents. I felt great as I got out of bed, bounced through to the kitchen, turned the oven on to cook some hash browns, went to the cupboard and grabbed the greaseproof paper."

"Next thing I recall was my youngest son standing over me on the floor...I still had the greaseproof paper in my hand."

Although Mark felt fine once he came to, his family insisted on calling an ambulance. He was taken to Austin Hospital's Emergency Department for observation.

"I arrived at 8:45am. I was surprised how busy the Emergency Department was, but the atmosphere was positive with a festive feel. I was hooked up to some machines to monitor my heart, I had some blood tests and scans but nothing was found."


"He was in, what we call, complete heart block."

"At 10:30am I was speaking to my partner and eldest son when I stopped mid-sentence, flat-lined and just slumped in the bed."

Cardiac Nurse Sarah Howe was working on the ward when Mark came in.

"He was feeling dizzy and everynow and then losing consciousness. He was in, what we call, complete heart block. His heart rate was going very slow and his blood pressure was dropping. This was causing him to lose consciousness."

"We saw his heart rate slow right down and then have a long pause. We quickly ran into his room. He was still conscious. He was looking at us wondering what was going on. And he lost consciousness right in front of us."

CPR helped Mark's heart get started again.

Sarah jumped into action performing CPR. She remembers the fear on the faces of Mark's sons and partner. 

"It would have been a horrible experience seeing their partner and Dad like that, but I just had to make sure their Dad was going to be OK. I had to tell them to leave the room, and then I called for an emergency team...all these doctors came running..."

Mark awoke to find ten concerned staff monitoring him, having determined it was vital that he have a pacemaker inserted that day. He was immediately prepared and taken to the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory.

Sarah was right by Mark's side, caring for him on Christmas Day

The emergency on-call team, all of whom were at home celebrating Christmas Day with their families, dropped everything to be at the hospital within 30 minutes to save Mark's life.

Nurses are amongst the most trusted healthcare professionals because of their dedication, care and compassion for their patients.

Our nurses will be here for you. But we need your help... Please support your nurses today.

Thank you.

Your care and compassion for our nurses is deeply appreciated.

Your donation will help them provide even better care for the patients who will be coming in to hospital this winter and for those patients who unfortunately will be too unwell to go home.

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Austin Health acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
We celebrate, value and include people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies and abilities.