Don't delay: this test could save your life

LIFE-SAVING: Rob Patch is on a mission to convince people to have their sleep apnoea checked in order to prevent an early death.
LIFE-SAVING: Rob Patch is on a mission to convince people to have their sleep apnoea checked in order to prevent an early death. Michael Nolan

MID way through last year Rob Patch had a brush with death and he's on a mission to save other people from similar complications.

The Kingaroy Peanut Van owner has suffered from sleep apnoea for most of his life but it took a turn for the worse in July last year.

He was at an IGA conference to promote Kingaroy peanuts when he had trouble staying awake.

When he got home his son made him go to the emergency room at St Vincent's Hospital in Toowoomba.

The doctors took one look at his blood-oxygen levels and realised something was seriously wrong.

A healthy person has a blood-oxygen level of about 97 per cent and 92 per cent is considered dangerously low. Mr Patch's blood-oxygen level was down to 42 per cent.

"The doctors said I had come there to die," he said.

The lack of oxygen meant his heart was working overtime and a few days later its right side collapsed.

To keep him alive the doctors pumped him with air and he spent about a month in hospital recovering.

Mr Patch said he was shocked to realise sleep apnoea could be fatal.

"I have spoken to so many people and they all said they didn't realise it could be so bad," he said.

A sleep test revealed on average he would stop breathing 90 times a night.

He made a promise to the doctors that if they saved his life he would raise awareness of the dangers.

Mr Patch said living in a regional community was no excuse to put off having a sleep test.

"You can have it done at any GP clinic and it's not necessary to stay overnight," he said.

Topics:  editors picks health near death experience rob patch sleep alnea

South Burnett

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