Nurse saves life of Indian national who had heart attack

Nurse saves life of Indian national who had heart attack
Madam Thanaletchumi with her husband, Mr Sakthi Velu.

He was out for a night of shopping at Little India on Friday when a heart attack left him writhing and gasping for air on the ground.

Indian national Arumugam Gopinath, in his 30s, might have died if a curious passer-by did not step in to help.

That passer-by - Madam Thanaletchumi Shanmugam - happened to be a senior staff nurse at Changi General Hospital.

"My only thought was to save him," said the 37-year-old.

She and her husband, Mr Sakthi Velu, 38, had gone to Little India for dinner when they came across a crowd of people gathering around Mr Gopinath.

Said Mr Sakthi, a financial services manager: "We went to take a closer look out of curiosity and was shocked to see a man lying on the ground. His friend was in a complete panic.

"No one knew what to do."

His wife promptly took charge of the situation and found that Mr Gopinath was unconscious and had no pulse.

So she performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), despite the protests from some bystanders who wanted to wait for emergency services.

In the meantime, Mr Sakthi and several others called for an ambulance.

"I described the situation to the dispatcher who told me over the phone to continue CPR. But my wife already knew what to do," he said.


Within minutes, Madam Thanaletchumi managed to revive Mr Gopinath just as a fire bike from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived.

She said: "I felt so relieved when he opened his eyes. People cheered."

Mr Gopinath was assessed by paramedics to be breathing normally, said a SCDF spokesman.

He was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital via ambulance.

Mr Sakthi managed to photograph the rescue with his mobile phone from the sidelines.

He posted the pictures onto Facebook to show their two young daughters, as he wanted them to "know that their mother had saved a life".

By the next day, the post had garnered more than 5,000 likes and hundreds of comments thanking Madam Thanaletchumi for her kind act.

She said: "It's very overwhelming, I didn't actually want the publicity, but I'm very touched by all their words."

They wanted to visit Mr Gopinath at the hospital yesterday but were told that he had asked to be discharged "at his own risk".

"I know the hospital fees for tourists or foreigners can be quite high. But he is definitely in no state to be moving about," said Madam Thanaletchumi.

The couple are still trying to contact him as they want to chip in on the cost of his recovery.

"I have helped him, but it's disappointing that I can't help him all the way," she added.

This article was first published on April 12, 2015.
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