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Leanne saves husband’s life

Saturday, 30th July, 2016

By Daniel Stringer

A local nurse who has been recognised for her bravery has been at it again, this time saving someone much closer to home. 

Leanne Barber was presented with two bravery awards in 2012 after she risked her own life to save a man being attacked by a pack dogs and was herself badly injured.

Four years later and she has saved another life - that of her husband. 

On the morning of June 28 Leanne was driving husband Terry to the same hospital where she has been a nurse for 32 years. 

Terry had been complaining of indigestion since the night before and had been vomiting, so he uncharacteristically asked his wife to give him a ride to the hospital.

They only made it as far as the car park across the street however when Terry went into a full cardiac arrest.

Without panicking, Leanne attempted to revive him.

“I banged him in the chest to try and shock his heart into starting again. 

“When that didn’t work and I couldn’t find a pulse I quickly raced around to his side of the car and gave him five good hard pushes in the chest. 

“I realised that I couldn’t save him in the car, so I thought if I could just get him to the hospital across the street he might stand a chance.”

She got there and doctors were able to shock him and regain a rhythm.

The RFDS then flew Terry to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, during which time Leanne said that it was “touch and go”. 

Things didn’t become any easier when they got to hospital in Adelaide however, as doctors questioned whether Terry’s life could be saved. 

“When we got to Adelaide, the doctors did a CT scan to check for brain activity. There were discussions about whether we turn the machines off, or whether they proceed with surgery. 

“I was told that his heart couldn’t withstand surgery and he would die.

“Then they also told me that if he didn’t have the surgery he would be dead.”

The surgeons decided to take the risk and perform emergency heart surgery, which took over seven and a half hours. 

It paid off and almost a month later and 19 days spent in hospital, the 64-year-old is well on his way to a full recovery.

Leanne said that this situation was proof of the importance of being trained in first aid, in particular CPR. 

“You never know when it is going to happen to you. Don’t think it is never going to happen because I never thought I would have to do CPR on my husband. 

“You take it for granted and think that it is not going to happen to you, but it does and I am proof of that.”

This is now the second time that Leanne can claim that she has saved a person’s life, but saving her husband’s life is not something she wants to become habit.

“I am just lucky that it happened in the hospital car park, because I probably only had a window of five seconds to get him there otherwise he would be dead.

“I felt panicked, but it just clicked at the time. I knew that if I didn’t do something, then my husband passes away in the car. 

“Saving Terry’s life would have to be the scariest thing I have had to do. He is my daughter’s father and we have been together for 21 years. 

“There is nothing scarier than thinking someone you have spent half your life with is dead sitting next to you.”

When asked why she thought it was always her put in the situation of having to save someone’s life she replied.

“I don’t know. Is it being in the right place at the right time or the right place at the wrong time?”

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