A woman wants to see defibrillators become mandatory items at all gyms after she almost died from a massive attack while using a rowing machine.
Emily Counter, 21, was working out at Anytime Fitness Noosa on the Sunshine Coast last October when she suffered a seizure and went into cardiac arrest.
The poise of gym owner Aaron Petterson and member Ben Duffy ensured she lived to tell the tale.
Emily Counter (pictured) went into cardiac arrest at a gym last October – a $1500 defibrillator saved her life
‘One of the young members just came running to me and said ‘something’s happened to a girl’,’ Mr Petterson said.
‘Em was just laying on the ground. She just wouldn’t respond.’
Mr Petterson recalled it was a confronting moment when Ms Counter ‘started to go blue.’
It what was a frantic scene, Mr Duffy and Mr Petterson used the defibrillator and administered CPR to start Ms Counter’s heart again.
‘Thank God. That thing (defibrillator) is just absolutely brilliant and was able to save her life in the end,’ Mr Petterson said.
Ms Counter was taken to Noosa Hospital, where she was in a coma for three days.
Emily Counter (pictured) just moments before going into cardiac arrest at a Noosa gym
Gym owner Aaron Petterson and member Ben Duffy combined to save Emily Counter’s life
Eventually she was diagnosed with Bland-White-Garland Syndrome (BWGS), a rare disease characterised by anomalous origin of the left coronary artery from the pulmonary trunk.
Without surgical repair, most children with BWGS die at infancy. Ms Couter lived 20 years unaware of her heart condition.
‘I was getting heart pain and I was struggling breathing when I was running, way before I had this happen, and I thought I just wasn’t fit enough,’ she told the
‘I’ve got a completely re-plumbed heart now, so it’s basically like a brand new heart,’ she said.
Four months after cheating death, Ms Counter was recently given the green light to once again exercise.
Now she wants to see defibrillators installed in every single gym.
‘If I didn’t have it [at my old gym] then I probably wouldn’t be alive,’ she said.
‘It saved my life and it will definitely save someone else’s.’