Fran Broadfoot has written of her sudden and scary experience several weeks ago. Please read it and remember….this could happen to anyone.


” The day started out the same as any other day. I woke about 7.30am feeling well, got dressed, ate breakfast and headed off at 9.25 with my cavoodle dog Jax, for a thirty minute walk with Eileen (McCormack) and Sandy (McDonald) around the car park at the Doncaster Athletics track. The weather was cloudy and cool after a night of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

About 5 minutes into the walk my upper chest/throat began to feel tight and after 20 more minutes of walking I decided to stop. Eileen and Sandy continued walking for another 5 minutes and by then I felt better and joined them at Sandy’s house for a cup of tea. During this time my upper back started to hurt, a dull, heavy, pressing feeling and I just felt unwell.

I left Sandy’s and headed to my friend Roslyn’s house to drop off a walker which I had promised her. When I arrived I told Ros that I did not feel well, and she, being a nurse, decided to call an ambulance. Unfortunately the ambulance service was inundated with calls that morning and her call was not answered for over ten minutes.

In the meantime I rang my doctor who asked me, “ Did I have chest pain?, Was I short of breath?, Did I have sweats?, Was I nauseous?.” I answered “No” to all these questions and said that I only had pain in the upper back. He said he suspected it could be a heart attack, despite my lack of symptoms, and that it was safer to wait for an ambulance. The ambulance call operator then came on line and a vehicle arrived 10 minutes later.

The problem now was  – where to take me?  All the hospitals in the area were on bypass including Epworth Richmond. The paramedics were speaking to Penninsula Health when I blacked out.  When I woke up I was still in the ambulance but now with a MICA paramedic by my side. He told me that the two young female paramedics had saved my life with the defibrillator and compression. They must have worked hard on me as I have two broken ribs but I am not complaining.  My heart had stopped for two minutes. I was then rushed to the Austin hospital where I had a stent inserted in a blocked artery. I  remained there for five days and am now undergoing cardiac rehabilitation at Donvale Hospital.

I mentioned the weather on the day. I have been asked by the Doctors to join a research group called Cardiovascular Seasonality, which has data on when heart attacks happen.  They have found most heart attacks occur on very hot days, cold days, very windy days and in extreme weather like thunderstorms. I also learned that back pain during a heart attack is not uncommon in women patients, although this is not widely known.

I hope this insight into a heart attack can be useful to anyone who may experience symptoms in the future. There is ‘no one glove fits all’ with heart attacks and I encourage anyone who does not feel well and has unusual symptoms to seek treatment immediately. It could save your life.”


As part of the research group, Fran has now been asked to wear this monitor continuously for several weeks. It registers her blood pressure, heart beat and physical activity. The front box like part is detachable and is returned to the hospital weekly. Fran then receives a replacement.

I would like to thank both Graham Ferres and Fran Broadfoot for both taking the time to get in touch with me and then write two articles which gives information and knowledge to us all….Lyn.