To say that Jacob Fagg-McLaughlin’s parents would quietly watch the 15-year-old play football would be an understatement.
But as soon as they noticed something was “really wrong” they took action.
“We were just sitting, relaxing, drinking beer, watching the game, and Jacob collapsed,” Jacob’s father Paul Fagg.
“We made a quick assessment that he’s in a spot of trouble here.”
Jacob was drained of his colors, his eyes were rolling and he wasn’t reacting, according to his mother Candy McLaughlin.
“As soon as I squatted down I realized that something was really wrong,” she said.
“(I thought) this kid isn’t the way he should be.”
Fagg and McLaughlin’s response to their son’s medical episode at the Mareeba United Football Club near Cairns on August 21 was like clockwork.
“We kind of went on autopilot, really,” he said.
“We weren’t really aware of what was going on around us.
“And we just did what we had to do.”
McLaughlin had years of CPR training and led the charge.
But more than that, she had a mother’s will to save her child.
“You have a very loud voice in your head that says, ‘I’m not going to lose this child,’” she said.
As she, Fagg, and another relative worked on Jacob, paramedics Nathan Ross and Lauren Turnbull were thankfully close to the scene.
They were able to return to work to save Jacob’s life.
He was taken to Mareeba Hospital before being transported to Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.
It was determined that he had suffered cardiac arrest and had undergone surgery.
“The main artery on the left side of the heart was in the wrong place and smaller than it should have been,” McLaughlin said.
Remarkably, Jacob’s recovery is going so well that he’s been told he may one day play soccer again.
“Great result… to see him so articulate and so well and healthy, and the parents, it’s a real privilege. It’s one of the best parts of the job, ”said Ross, after reuniting with Jacob on Wednesday.
Turnbull credited the parents’ actions with saving their son’s life.
“In cases of delayed CPR, the chances of survival decrease quite quickly and quite significantly,” she said.
“It was fantastic, they got to start as fast as they could.”
Could have been worse
The Queensland family know it could have been a lot worse.
“The doctors told me it could have happened on my motorbike, several miles from my house or while swimming in a dam… no one would be there to help me,” said Jacob.
McLaughlin said there is a simple lesson from experience.
“Please learn CPR because you just don’t know when it’s your turn,” she said.