The cast of the hit TV show Rake has joined a campaign to promote CPR, with a short film about a juror suffering a cardiac arrest seeing actor Richard Roxburgh reprise his role of Cleaver Greene.
In the ad, launched this week, the unconventional barrister rushes to the aid of the juror to the music of the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive, while others in the courtroom explain how to administer CPR.
The unusual concept for the campaign, titled Shock Verdict, was pushed by Tasmanian heart specialist Dr Paul MacIntyre, who is a long-time fan of the show and reached out to Roxburgh to donate his time.
"He struck me as someone who would be able to do it," Roxburgh said.
"He was ballsy enough to come and suggest it in the first place. He had energy and he was committed."
Roxburgh is joined in the ad by actress Kate Box, who plays his secretary Nicole in Rake, and who, in keeping with the theme of the show, takes control of the situation and helps save the juror.
Cardiac arrest fast facts:
- Only 10 per cent of the estimated 20,000 Australians who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year survive
- Three out of every four cardiac arrests in Australia occur at home
- For each minute after the onset of a witnessed cardiac arrest, there is a 10 per cent reduction in survival if no CPR is given
- Providing hard chest compressions can double a person's chance of survival.
- Using a defibrillator can increase survival rates by 40 per cent
- Defibrillation within 3-5 minutes can produce survival rates as high as 70 per cent
The campaign has a personal side for Roxburgh after a friend died from a cardiac arrest a few years ago.
"I thought even if we save a few lives from this [it will be worth it]," Roxburgh said.
"Hopefully it's a lot more than that."
Dr MacIntyre is the director of cardiology at the Royal Hobart Hospital and said a bystander providing CPR to someone suffering a cardiac arrest could dramatically increase their chance of survival.
It is estimated only 10 per cent of the more than 20,000 Australians who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year survive.
Dr MacIntyre said providing CPR — and knowing how to use a defibrillator — were essential skills people should learn.
"The key message in this campaign is that people should do something rather than nothing. Every minute counts," he said.
A global initiative
The campaign follows a similar initiative in the UK, where "hard man" actor Vinnie Jones fronts a CPR campaign that also uses the theme of Stayin' Alive.
It has been watched millions of times online and the organisers of the Australian campaign — which includes the Heart Foundation and the Australian Resuscitation Council — are hoping for similar impact here.
"You know, I realised I didn't know myself the correct procedure," Roxburgh said of administering CPR.
"[We want] to bring CPR into the public domain more, and I thought it just seemed like such a great idea."