On 20 August 2012, while working in Christchurch, New Zealand’s red zone [heavily damaged by earthquakes], Stockman Builders carpenter Jericho Forest, age 21, did not feel well and so he went outside to get fresh air. Neal Rippey, a site manager for Leighs Construction, noticed that Mr. Forest was behaving oddly. Mr. Rippey said, “I thought he was dancing … He actually started walking round and round in circles. He spun around and hit the side of my ute [utility vehicle] and then hit the ground.” Mr. Rippey ran to Mr. Forest. Mr. Rippey said, “Before I got there, he was in full muscle spasm and frothing at the mouth. I got straight in there and cleared a bit of room for him to move and basically just held him close to me. I checked his airways and he wasn’t breathing. That’s when he started going pretty blue. I tried finding a pulse, but couldn’t.” Mr. Rippey gave him CPR. Mr. Rippey said, “It felt like half an hour [doing CPR] but it must’ve been two or three minutes. I was dreading the worst. Then I just remember him starting breathing on his own. I was just so relieved. His eyes just came alive.” An ambulance took Mr. Forest to Christchurch Hospital, where he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Mr. Forest said, “I can’t remember much of what happened. I thought I was going to have a seizure, my vision was going weird, then I woke up and the ambulance was there.” He had had a seizure in the past, but epilepsy was not diagnosed then because tests came back negative. He said, “I thought I’d got lucky and it was a one-off thing in the past. But it could be worse. It could’ve happened under worse circumstances like at height.” Mr. Forest said that now he owes Mr. Rippey some beers.
For More Information: CAROLINE KING, “Red-zone hero saves fellow worker.” Stuff (New Zealand). 22 August 2012 <http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7522418/Red-zone-hero-saves-fellow-worker>.