Back in History: Back from the dead

Happy to be alive and well... Vidya Wati of Narere in Nasinu with Constable Inia Suvarua. Picture: FILE

A story about a Nasinu woman who collapsed and was feared to have died —and returned to life about 15 minutes later — was published in The Fiji Times on March 19, 1986.

The woman was Vidya Wati, 30, of Narere, Nasinu. She said she owed her life to the perseverance of a policeman who continued massaging her heart as she was rushed to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

“I am convinced that I am back from the dead and, my saviour is Constable Inia Suvarua,” the mother of four said.

“If not for him, I would not be here talking to you today.”

Her husband, Shiu Prasad, worked at G.B. Hari and Company. Her sister, Nirmala Wati, 29, was with Vidya when she collapsed and apparently became lifeless.

“I thought my sister was dead, and I was weeping uncontrollably when, in front of my eyes, Constable Suvarua gave her life, so to speak,” said Nirmala of Valelevu.

At least 15 minutes had passed from the time Vidya collapsed while travelling in a bus, and the time Constable Suvarua detected a faint pulse.

“In between, there was no sign of life and her heart had stopped beating,” Nirmala said.

She said she was returning with her sister from Nausori on a K.R. Latchan bus at 11am when Vidya collapsed as the bus was approaching the Nasinu Police Mobile base.

“The passengers on the bus checked and found there was no heartbeat, and I asked the bus driver to stop at the nearest taxi stand,” Nirmala said.

The driver rushed her to the Nasinu Police Station where the officers gave her emergency treatment, but there was no response. There was no detectable heartbeat, and Vidya’s hands and legs had turned cold.

She was put in the back of a police van with Constable Suvarua and Nirmala. Constable Suvarua said he found her chest still warm, although her hands and feet were cold.

“I started massaging her heart, as the last shot because her chest was still warm,” he said.

After five minutes of vigorous massaging, he felt a weak pulse and asked the driver to drive faster while he continued massaging.

She regained consciousness three hours later in the CWM Hospital.

And she returned home the day after she regained consciousness.

A Suva doctor said it was rare for people whose hearts stopped beating to live again.

He knew of cases where heart patients were revived after their hearts had stopped for about five minutes.

“But it would be difficult to revive someone whose heart had stopped for 15 minutes,” he said.

For one thing, there can be irreparable brain damage if the heart stops for that long,” he said.

“But, really, I can’t make an objective statement until I have seen the patient and studied her case history.”

He said maybe she had a case of heart trouble or something else.

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