Colin Claridge is back at work at his Mary Street business after a near death experience recently.
Colin Claridge is back at work at his Mary Street business after a near death experience recently. Craig Warhurst

Nurse saves fruiterer

EVEN though Colin Claridge didn’t know it at the time, it was his lucky day when nurse Andrea Ernst and workmate Elise Bailey walked into his Mary Street fruit and vegetable store on September13.

The health workers arrived at the Farmers Fruit Exchange to pick up fruit for an excursion; unbeknown to them Mr Claridge was lying unconscious on the coldroom floor.

He wasn’t breathing and his heart was faltering.

The women stood at the counter of the shop for more than 10 minutes, wondering why no one was coming to serve them.

When another customer arrived at the shop they decided to investigate.

Ms Ernst had a look around the back of the shop and couldn’t find anyone and said to Ms Bailey “he might be in the cold room”.

When she opened the cold room door she saw Mr Claridge on the floor.

“He didn’t look real well,” Ms Ernst said.

“Myself and the other customer, I don’t know her name, pulled him out of the cold room. Elise rang triple 0, while I checked his pulse and breathing.

“He wasn’t breathing and his pulse was weak.”

From there Ms Ernst nurse’s training kicked in and she gave Mr Claridge mouth to mouth resuscitation.

“I gave him three quick breaths and he started to come around,” Ms Ernst said.

“He must have been in there for a while.” Yesterday Mr Claridge was back at work at his Mary Street store, after spending nine days in Royal Brisbane Hospital (four on a ventilator) and another couple of weeks recuperating.

The 46-year-old thanked every one involved in his rescue.

“If it hadn’t been for those girls I probably wouldn’t be talking to you today,” Mr Claridge said.

Doctors told him he was lucky he collapsed in the cold room because the cool temperatures helped slow his body functions down while he lay waiting for somebody to find him.

“I still don’t remember what happened, I can remember talking to my business partner Chris Franz in the morning and then waking up the next day in Royal Brisbane Hospital.”

He said the doctors still aren’t sure what went wrong.

“They thought it was a stroke but tests ruled that out. I have a flutter in my heart, I have to have more tests.”

Mr Claridge said everyone had been fantastic while he was sick and that the Gympie community was very supportive.

“I have had tremendous help from other shopkeepers, everyone rallied around and I had great support.”

Gympie Times


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