Patient Stories, News & Events


Patient stories

Grahame’s battle for life

At 65, Grahame Conlon is a man who embraces life. He is also a man who can truly say that he came a heartbeat away from losing it all. 

Last November Grahame started feeling chest pains while he was playing golf. 

Grahame suffered a massive heart attack and went into a cardiac arrest in the Emergency Department of the Prince of Wales Hospital, where an all-out battle to save his life began, starting with CPR by a team of dedicated doctors and nurses. 

Grahame’s heart stopped beating for an incredible two hours, and during that agonising time his wife Paula never left his side.  It was the emotional reactions to Paula telling him to “hold on and don’t leave me” - which helped doctors realise that Grahame’s brain was still active despite the long time he was in arrest.  

Grahame was placed on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation System (ECMO) to take over the work of his own heart and lungs to oxygenate and pump blood around his body. He then underwent lifesaving cardiac surgery to unblock the arteries in his heart.

Within 12 hours of Grahame’s near-death experience he was awake and talking, and after two weeks in hospital Grahame and Paula walked out of the Prince of Wales Hospital, thrilled to be returning home together.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, Prince of Wales Hospital were able to buy a new state-of-the-art ECMO machine, so that more lives like Grahame’s could be saved. You are also supporting patient care and research at Mater Brisbane. 

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