Half an hour into a tennis set Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, Ray Schami,72 , began to lean over, bracing his hands on his thighs, then fell to the ground.
“He was gasping,” said Ron Kydd, 67. “And [his breathing] wasn’t regular. It was sort of one big gasp and then something and then nothing. Nothing.”
John Stevenson, 72, dashed for his phone and called 9-1-1, and he and Kydd rolled Schami onto his back and started doing CPR, trading off between them.
Kydd said that he’d done his training a few years ago and was able to remember the counting for the breaths and chest compressions. And Stevenson says that as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, he has done CPR training pretty regularly over the last decade or so.
“After a few minutes, when it was obvious that Ray’s pulse was weak if it was present at all — it was so hard to tell, because we’re panicking — I went out to the car while John continued the CPR, and I got the defibrillator that my wife and I carry in the car,” Kydd said. “We carry it because we live in Roberts Creek and it’s 15 minutes from an ambulance, if you’re lucky.”
“The first thing it says is, ‘Be calm.’ Well, no chance of that,” Kydd said wryly. “And then it tells you to check the airways and the various steps you’re supposed to do, including attaching the pads to the person’s chest, which I did. And then it analyzes. It says, ‘Analyzing, analyzing.’ And then it said, ‘Shock recommended,’ and ‘Stand back.’ And so at that time I pushed the button and gave the shock.”
Kydd administered two separate shocks, between rounds of CPR, and then paramedics and firefighters arrived and continued working on Schami.
Paramedics took Schami to St. Mary’s Hospital until he could be transferred by helicopter to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, where he was put in a medically-induced coma for 24 hours. He had a defibrillator implanted and was released from hospital Saturday, Nov. 14.
Now, he says, he’s still feeling weak, but is counting his blessings that his heart attack happened in the right place, near the right people.
“I live alone so I could have been alone and had this heart attack and have been found a week or so later by neighbours,” he said. “[My children] would have been concerned [when they hadn’t heard from me as usual] and my neighbours would have walked in to find me dead.”