The day I died
A 79-year-old man who collapsed, stopped breathing and had no pulse was brought back to life by CPR during a Freemasons ceremony in Napier.
Meeanee electrician Ray Monck was at the ceremony at the Napier Masonic Centre when a member of the visiting National Masonic Choir, Douglas Bedggood, from Hamilton, collapsed, stopped breathing and lost his pulse.
Mr Monck was one of a group of men who rushed to his aid.
"Suddenly there was a big kerfuffle and I saw this gentleman slide out of his chair and down to the ground," he said.
"We checked and he had quite a weak pulse. At that point I didn't know what had happened. I thought maybe he had fainted because it was quite warm in the room.
"Suddenly his head went back and his eyes started rolling back and he went completely unresponsive. His pulse disappeared and he had stopped breathing. It was quite obvious the guy had died."
As the other men in the group called 111 and Mr Bedggood's wife, Hilary, who was on a sightseeing tour at Silky Oak Chocolate Factory, Mr Monck started CPR.
"I didn't hold out that much hope, to be honest," he said.
"I guess the training just kicked in and I kept pumping his chest. A minute, maybe two minutes, before the ambulance arrived he started breathing again.
"He was saying 'I'm fine, I'm okay'. I don't think he realised he had died at that stage. I know only a doctor can certify death but it was almost like a miracle to see the guy come round."
Mr Bedggood was then attended to by paramedics and taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital, where he stayed for several days before being transferred to Waikato Hospital.
Mrs Bedggood said her husband, a father of three, had an hereditary heart problem he had previously managed with regular check-ups and medication.
"It still came out of the blue as far as we are concerned," she said.
Yesterday morning he had a pacemaker implant and, apart from not being able to drive, is expected to make a good recovery.
In an email to Hawke's Bay Today, Mr Bedggood said there was no doubt in his mind November 19 was the day he died and was brought back to life by Mr Monck and the other Freemasons.
"Death came to me with no notice. All was normal, then my heart stopped beating and breathing ceased. I fell to the floor dead. I had entered into the shadow of the valley of death," he said.
"The support from the Lodge members was tremendous. Many friendships have been formed."
Hawke's Bay District Health Board Emergency Response Provider Sandra Bee said the survival rate of CPR was about 20 per cent, and of those who survived, only about 20 per cent made a good recovery.
"CPR is to keep the blood circulating and oxygen going to the brain," she said.
"More than half of survivors end up with severe brain damage, so to be what we call a good survivor is pretty amazing."