Minto man's recovery dubbed a 'miracle' by medical staff

Rod Delaney and the hospital staff that saved his life. Picture: RPA
Rod Delaney and the hospital staff that saved his life. Picture: RPA

"Rod Delaney is what we like to call a miracle."

That's the belief of the medical team at Sydney's Royal Prrince Alfred Hospital (RPA).

Two weeks ago the Minto resident was 42 floors up working on the new Crown Sydney casino at Barangaroo when he experienced chest pain.

Tough as nails, the 48-year-old took himself off to smoko hoping the pain would subside after a bite to eat.

It didn't.

Thankfully, a colleague decided to bundle him into a car and drove him to RPA.

"I was so scared in the car," Mr Delaney said.

"I've never been in hospital before so I was freaking right out."

After arriving at the emergency department (ED), Mr Delaney went into cardiac arrest and couldn't be resuscitated.

ED trauma specialist Matt Oliver made the decision to put him on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), a machine which bypasses the heart and lungs and keeps blood flowing to the brain.

While clinicians were getting the lines in to Mr Delaney's arteries, an automated Lucas machine delivered chest compressions for at least 30 minutes.

"At one point, my brother counted 21 people working on me at the same time," Mr Delaney said.

Once on ECMO, he was transferred to the cath lab where a huge coronary blockage was found and a stent inserted.

Mr Delaney then spent several days in the intensive care unit on ECMO, until "I woke up with a tube in my mouth as one very lucky boy".

ED director James Edwards agrees.

"Would Rod be alive if we didn't have ECMO? No," he said.

"He is the reason we do this - for the 48-year-olds who would not survive otherwise."

For cardiologist David Celermajer, Rod's recovery is testament to a remarkable health system.

"It is extraordinary that a man can come into the ED with a cardiac arrest that he can't be resuscitated from, and walk out of hospital 10 days later," he said.

"That doesn't happen without a lot of things going right, and teams being coordinated and expert at what they do."

"Hundreds of healthcare workers were involved in saving Rod's life, from ED to cardiovascular, anaesthetists, radiologists, the intensive care team.

"People worked together and swung into action very quickly."

A very grateful Mr Delaney stopped by the ED last week to thank the team which saved his life.

"Do you know that I was just going to get a train back to Campbelltown to see my GP that day?" he said.

"If I'd done that, I would have died on the train.

"Luckily, I got my arse into gear and came here instead.

"I am one very thankful boy.

"Well done, everyone. Another excellent day at the office."