How luck saved Liz's life: 'She was minutes from death'
ELIZABETH Ernst woke up in Toowoomba Hospital on Tuesday last week with no idea of how close she had come to death.
The 21-year-old is counting herself lucky to be alive after suffering a cardiac arrest on the court during a social game of netball at the USQ Recreation Centre.
Dropping to the floor mid-game, Ms Ernst suffered a concussion from the fall, leaving her with no memory of the events that saw her stare death in the face or of those who scrambled to save her life.
As fate would have it a team consisting of doctors and nurses from the Toowoomba Hospital, ironically-named "Not For Resuscitation", was walking through the door to play before being forced into delivering urgent medical assistance.
At her first meeting yesterday with the medical staff who saved her life since that fateful night, Ms Ernst reiterated just how bleak things could have been.
"It's really quite scary to know that if they hadn't walked in when they did the reality of me being here is pretty slim," she said.
Racing into action, sheets and other items of clothing were scavenged to convert the netball court into a make-shift emergency room as the medical staff scoured the arena for a defibrillator, beginning a frantic effort to revive Elizabeth.
Her father, Wayne Ernst, recalls receiving the terrifying call notifying him that his daughter had suffered a serious injury.
But when he arrived at the court, the situation was far more dire than he ever imagined.
"She was literally minutes from death," he said.
"It was definitely not what I was expecting to see. I thought she might just have broken her ankle or something,"
Toowoomba Hospital nurse Frankie Stock was one of the first on the scene and believes the rapid response from her teammates brought Ms Ernst back from the brink.
The attack came as a shock to Ms Stock, but more so to Ms Ernst who has no previous history of heart problems.
"Elizabeth was on her side with her team around her and we noticed her colour was awful so we jumped on over to have a look," she said.
"We all agree that the early CPR and early defib saved her life."
While there is a long road ahead for the budding netballer, Ms Ernst paid tribute to the Toowoomba Hospital staff who revived her and isn't worried about a stint on the sidelines.
"It is unbelievably lucky they were there and they deserve all the recognition, they really do," she said.
"They did their job so well that night even though they weren't on duty."