First aid lessons at The King’s School saved Diana Marcellino’s life.
She visited the North Parramatta school on Wednesday to thank the teenagers who rushed to her aid following a two car collision on Victoria Road at Gladesville in March.
The King’s School students Angus Gall, 17, Tim Sampson, 17, and his cousin Marsden Sampson, 18, stopped to help Ms Marcellino, who was trapped in her car with critical injuries.
The young men provided first aid, comfort and reassurance before and after paramedics arrived, unlike some of the other onlookers more interested in taking photos of the wreckage or complaining about traffic delays.
“I went to Diana’s car and with the help of bystanders, we got the passenger door open,” Angus recalled.
“I got in and was sitting in the passenger seat for around 20 minutes supporting her neck and talking to her, trying to keep her calm. Tim asked a bystander to support her broken arm. Once the paramedics arrived, they wanted me to keep going with what I was doing. Tim and I were both in the back for probably another 20 minutes, just talking to Diana, telling her to focus on her breathing and trying to keep her calm, which she did extremely well considering the situation and her injuries.”
Ms Marcellino was rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital with two fractured vertebrae in her neck, nine fractured ribs, a fractured sternum, nose, left foot, right arm and a fractured right leg in two places, a punctured lung and bleed on the brain. She later lost part of her bowel during surgery.
The West Ryde resident was in a coma for several days and spent seven weeks in hospital before she was transferred to a rehabilitation unit. She finally returned home last Friday.
“I get emotional when I think about it, because theirs’ are the voices I heard,” Ms Marcellino said.
“It’s the only thing I remember. I’ve been asked, ‘Do you remember this? Do you remember that?’ The answer is no, I remember nothing except for those boys’ voices. For me, they are the ones who kept me going.”
Departing school headmaster Dr Tim Hawkes is proud of the students.
“They saw a need and responded to it without giving a thought about the danger they were in or the trauma they would witness,” Dr Hawkes said.
“In an age when most prefer to watch rather than get involved, it is refreshing to hear of young men who were prepared to help.”
NSW Ambulance Inspector Kevin McSweeney said the boys’ lifesaving efforts demonstrated the importance of learning first aid.
“The boys did an outstanding job,” Inspector McSweeney told the Sun.
“They focused on the task at hand, rather than the trauma. This lady had significant life threatening injuries.”
NSW Ambulance presented Angus and Tim with recognition certificates during a school assembly on Wednesday, where Ms Marcellino was reunited with her young saviours and paramedics Melissa McGovern, Fiona Cook and Lauren Mason.
“It was an emotional day and it was the first time the boys had seen Diana since the accident,” Inspector McSweeney said.
“She has just got out of hospital and has a long road ahead of her.”
He encouraged other schools and organisations to introduce first aid training.
“It’s a fantastic skill that everyone will benefit from, regardless of whether it’s on a member of the public or a loved one,” Inspector McSweeney said.