Every career paramedic has that one job that stands out among the many lives saved.
The one they remember for the rest of their lives.
For Inspector Merinda Hill, that memory comes from the day she played a part in saving the life of fellow emergency services worker Johnny Smith.
Senior Constable Smith, who works for the Police Transport Command based out of Campbelltown, had finished a shift in October last year and was at home watching a replay of the NRL Grand Final when his wife Jasmine heard him make a strange noise from the couch.
“I was on a call for work and I thought Johnny was snoring but then I realised there was something really wrong,” she said.
Despite being 38 weeks pregnant, Jasmine immediately jumped into action and began administering CPR to her husband and the father of her three girls – soon to be four.
In the back of her mind she knew what she was doing was important, but how she was doing it was even more so.
“My cousin died about a year ago and they told us that the CPR that was done on him was ineffective,” she said.
“I had that in the back of my mind and I knew it had to be done properly.”
She was helped during this difficult period by calm and controlled Sydney Control call-taker Amanda Di Maria.
Jasmine continued until paramedics – including Merinda and her intensive care partner Sam Vaessen, critical care paramedic Tim Thistleton and Dr Chloe Tetlow – arrived to take over.
With Johnny a popular officer in the region, when the call went out over the radio about his condition, the family home was swarmed by concerned colleagues who wanted to do anything they could to help.
“It was a chaotic scene with everyone wanting to pitch in,” Merinda recalls.
After an epic effort from those on scene, Johnny was rushed to Campbelltown Hospital where he remained for some time.
Not long after, while he was still in recovery, Jasmine gave birth to their fourth daughter just a couple of floors away.
Johnny has no recollection of the events of that October morning – something he feels is probably a good thing.
“I don't remember any of it which might just be a blessing,” he said.
He said he was so grateful for the mammoth effort from his wife while 38 weeks pregnant.
“She's a strong woman, she's the rock of our family. Without her I wouldn't be here,” Johnny said. When Johnny and Jasmine finally got to meet Merinda, it was a touching reunion for the paramedic and the Smith family.
“It's good to finally meet Merinda. In this job you have victims and you deal with them once and you don't ever see them again so it was good to finally meet Merinda because she saved my life. It's a blessing... She's a blessing,” he said.
Everything about the job sticks with Merinda and she knows it is the same with her colleagues.
“I'd never done a job like this before, there were just so many aspects to it that stand out to me," she said.
“To be able to save a father-of-four's life, not only a father but obviously a husband and a fellow emergency services worker – a police officer from the same area I work in – there’s just so many aspects that make it more emotionally charged than normal.”
There's another big positive that came out of this experience.
Jasmine's sister, who was at their home during the whole ordeal, was tossing up whether to become a paramedic or a police officer.
She had already been accepted into the police academy, but after watching the paramedics work tirelessly to save her brother-in-law's life – she's now training to be one of us.