Industry Icon Phil Tripp Suffers Heart Attack In Hawaii

29 February 2016 | 4:08 pm | Staff Writer

The SXSW Australian is recovering in hospital

AMID founder and SXSW South Pacific representative Phil Tripp has suffered a heart attack in Hawaii.

The semi-retired music industry mini-mogul was picking up a hire car at the end of last week when he suffered cardiac arrest and died for four minutes, with individuals nearby delivering CPR and restarting his heart three times before he was rushed to an ICU in Honolulu.

Never one to shy away from a good yarn, Tripp has taken to Facebook to keep everyone updated as he recovers following surgery.

“Out of surgery with a new implant by one of the US top cardiology. A new age digital defibrillator and pacemaker combo. They had to reboot me though. Out of ICU in a day, a few days on the beach to recover, then back home to recover. Close!” Tripp said last week.

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“Feeling like I've been kicked by a mule in my chest due to rough CPR, banging on the sternum and being shocked back, I'm at least sitting up, typing with two hands (except for the one left finger with oxygen sensor) and wired up like a server rack with EKG and other machinery,” he said in a follow-up post, before laying out the previous week’s incident in detail.

“The greeter at ALAMO who caught me as I was collapsing in a heap at the front door coming off the bus was checking on me so as to relay the news to her co-workers as to my recovery. There was the woman client who immediately started CPR to the 100 BPS rhythm of Saturday Night Fever which is what oxygenated me and saved my brain. A construction worked rushed over and roughly pounded my chest which is what made my heart restart for a few seconds.

Not enough though as I was white and turning grey, dead to the world. But the greeter held my hand, squeezed it and kept talking to me as the trade pulled out a defibrillator machine that they keep on the wall in the lobby of ALAMO and tried to shock me back before the Ambos came. No luck. Then the paramedics rushed through the crowd and prepped me to 'CLEAR' and I jump started briefly before timing out again. Six minutes and the client was still pumping as she had CPR training and co-ordinated with the Ambos.

Third shock lucky and I revived a bit to great whoops from the crowd. I could count fingers, remember my name and birthday, know where I was so there was no brain damage. A race to the ER and I was soon on my way to the ICU where I have been enjoying Hawaiian style hospitality for the last two days. Korean chicken with two scoops of rice (local joke) , a couple of containers of POG and a Pepsi Max. No decent Pinot though.

Seriously, this is an encouragement and a warning to you to save someone else's slide and maybe your own too. Two out of three people who suffer a cardiac arrest DIE on the spot (different from a heart attach which is a blockage, an arrest San electrical storm to the wiring of the heart). If that woman had not been there and started CPR, if that construction guy hadn't beaten the shit out of my chest and those defibrillators were not present, I'D BE A COLD CORPSE. Or worse, I'd be like the 50% that survive with severe brain damage. The conversations I overheard in the ICU were primarily nurses saying ‘open your eyes, c’mon open them for me.’ ‘Say something.’ ‘Cmon, smile for me.’ And then the sobbing of relatives as they realize that their mom, dad, sister or son didn't get as lucky as me. LEARN CPR. SAVE A LIFE.”

Tripp has been a key player in increasing SXSW attendance rates for Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii since 2002.

After he started AMID in 1988, Street Press Australia, publishers of The Music, acquired it in 2010.