Cyclist rides his luck in near-death experience
LANDSCAPE architect Rob Burrell inadvertently picked about the best place possible to have a major heart attack while out on an evening bike ride.
The 56-year-old has shared his miraculous luck story as he recuperates from his near-death experience.
Mr Burrell said he decided to "go for a city burn" on his pushbike from his Buderim home about 8pm on September 10.
It was a Sunday night, his girlfriend had left for the weekend and he had a bit of extra energy.
He made it as far as Burnett St, just near Milan's Pizza and Pasta, where some diners were seated at footpath tables.
"This one guy was watching me and he was a keen cyclist but what I didn't realise was he was a state-leading cardiologist," Mr Burrell said.
His last memory was falling from his ride.
Milan's Pizza and Pasta Restaurant owner Brad Lovaas said a waitress came to the kitchen to tell him someone had fallen from their bike out the front.
Mr Lovaas went out the front to see the cardiologist and his wife, a senior nurse, trying to revive Mr Burrell.
In a major stroke of luck, he said all the tables on the footpath were "chockers full of doctors and nurses".
"Every table had a medical professional at it," Mr Lovaas said.
The first vehicle to stop after noticing the incident was an off-duty paramedic.
"It was miraculous."
Mr Burrell said he had since learned they were compressing his chest hard enough to expel blood from his heart's ventricles to essentially do the organ's job manually.
"They got one beat after 15 minutes," Mr Burrell said.
Mr Lovaas said there was deep concern among bystanders that Mr Burrell was going to die.
"There was a time when we didn't think he was going to make it," Mr Lovaas said.
An ambulance arrived and Mr Burrell was defibrillated twice before being rushed to Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
He underwent surgery, was in an induced coma for three days and was discharged a couple of days after that.
Doctors have told him he would have died within three minutes of the attack had he not had immediate treatment.
"If it (the attack) had been 100m down the road no one would have seen me," Mr Burrell said.
He said if it had happened at his home, it was unlikely he would have been found until a few days had passed.
Mr Burrell has run a landscape architect business on the Coast for 20 years with professional highlights including landscape design and construction supervision for Richard Branson's Makepeace Island.
He said messages of support he had received during recovery had been amazing.
"They are all sort of saying the messages that I feel," he said.
"You've turned a new page now and you need to take life in a different perspective."
Mr Burrell has taken on a solid regime of heart medication and has more surgery scheduled but is otherwise on his way to a full recovery.
He got aboard his pushbike yesterdayFriday for the first time since the crash and rode to Milan's to catch up again with Mr Lovaas.
He wanted to thank his family, the medical staff at Sunshine Coast University Hospital and especially the cardiologist, his nurse wife and the others who acted so quickly to save him.