Gerry's miraculous recovery thanks to medical research


In early 2022, Gerry began experiencing leg pain, concerned, he visited his local doctor. Whilst waiting for the results of a scan, Gerry’s condition rapidly worsened, and he was soon found unresponsive, by his loving wife, Janet. On route to SCGH Gerry suffered a cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated. He had been gone for 10 minutes, and it took three paddles to bring him back.

Arriving at the hospital, Gerry was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). The ICU is a never-ending hive of activity, with staff giving incredible support to some of WA’s most critically ill patients and often a confronting place with flashing lights and alarms 24-hours a day.

Intensive care specialists Dr Matt Anstey and Dr Brad Wibrow recognised that research into ICU specific interventions could build a strong platform of best practice healthcare for their most medically vulnerable patients.

Over the last 7 years, Dr Anstey and Dr Wibrow have successfully applied for grant funding through the Foundation to further projects including research into sepsis shock, early use of in-line speaking valve and so much more.

Whilst in ICU, Gerry was diagnosed with sepsis, an aggressive infection that had spread to his heart, resulting in cardiac arrest. The rapid spreading infection had initiated an internal assault on his organs, causing the collapse at home earlier that day.

Gerry had now been unconscious for three weeks. The team were preparing Janet and their daughters, Jennifer, and Hayley for the worst. Alongside sepsis he had blood clots, an abscess on the spine and bleeding.

“We all thought he was going to die because he had sepsis – the most severe form of infection and then a cardiac arrest. You don’t see many patients fight like Gerry did,” Dr Wibrow reflects.

The next morning Janet was greeted with news that Gerry had started moving his fingers and toes. Gerry progress was long and slow, including spending time at Osborne Park Hospital learning to walk again. But Gerry’s journey didn’t end here.

Almost a year later, Gerry was back in the same ICU after falling ill with an infection in his lung and gut. Back at SCGH, Gerry was diagnosed with three leaking heart valves and kidney failure which later resulted in heart failure and required risky open-heart surgery. After the eight-hour agonising wait for Janet, Gerry was out of surgery and back in ICU with the very same care team.

“It was weird for me as I doesn’t remember my first time in ICU and all these people knew me, saying I can’t believe your back,” remembers Gerry.

Fast forward three months and Gerry is on the mend and back playing with his three grandkids. 7 months out of hospital, Gerry was home to celebrate his 70th birthday.

“Up on ICU, nobody ever comes out after five weeks. I’m a miracle, apparently and it’s all thanks to the incredible staff!” “It’s a real good news story,” says Gerry.