Life and death on the doorstep

PETER Taylor’s life is usually quiet but things occasionally get hectic.

On top of the three drug overdose deaths which have occurred at his home and one fatal stabbing, he estimates he has revived six people who were dying from drug overdoses. “Some of them have been dead — not breathing and no pulse,” he said matter-of-factly.

“There have been five or six I’ve worked on to keep them going. I just tried to keep them alive. You do what you’ve got to. I think they’ve all been drug overdoses.”

Mr Taylor, 50, said he had lived at the house in Hurd Street in Portland where he let out part of his property, a bungalow, to locals for about eight years.

“The overdoses have all happened in the bungalow. I live in the house. They come into the house and call out for me to help,” he said.“I’ve done safety courses in different jobs in the past, first aid stuff.

“A couple would have passed away if I hadn’t acted. You try to bring them around. If that’s not working in a few minutes you call the ambulance.”

Mr Taylor said most of the overdoses happened during the past five years.

“It’s been since I’ve rented out the bungalow. I’m not sure who’s there all the time. People have come and gone. I haven’t met half of them — they are just looking for somewhere to stay,” he said.

“There were some of them just out of jail and they stayed with the people already in the bungalow. When the stabbing happened I was in bed. I got up and it was all over.”

Mr Taylor was referring to the case of alleged Portland drug dealer Andrew Saunders who was found by police to have acted in self-defence when involved in stabbing and killing Rohan Morris, 37, while fending off a vigilante attack during December 2006.

Three men and Mr Morris went to Saunders’ bungalow at Hurd Street on December 4, 2006, to confront him over a $20 debt and selling drugs to young Portland drug users. Mr Morris died of stab wounds to the upper body.

Mr Taylor agreed that like many towns of its size, Portland had a significant drug culture.

“We have a fair problem but it seems that doctors are trying to stop people getting patches (Fentanyl). They and morphine tablets should be banned because people abuse them,” he said.

“I wasn’t blamed over Paul Galvin, they just asked me what happened and I told them. 

“I just do my best to try and save people and help everybody. I do compressions and keep them going, a bit of mouth-to-mouth as well.

“One bloke went purple. After 10 minutes I got a pulse back and then the ambulance arrived and they gave him a needle to reverse the effects of morphine. He woke up 10 minutes later.”

Mr Taylor said despite his experiences of reviving people who were dying, no one had ever mentioned their lives flashing before their eyes or any other near-death experiences.

“Some of them have been dead. They were not breathing, had no pulse and I just work on them until I get them going again,” he said.

“Paul Galvin just came in, he knew the bloke out the back. I think he might have just got out of jail and had nowhere else to go. He wasn’t there long before he overdosed.’’

athomson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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