Elder

Wife Saves Husband during Snow Shovelling

Posted by cocreator on June 09, 2014
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My husband, Bob, used to refer to the automated external defibrillator (AED) that I bought for our house as “the $1,500 shelf ornament.”


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He thought it was a complete waste of money. But I wanted it because we live so far from emergency medical care.

In December 2011, that shelf ornament saved my husband’s life.

Bob and I were outside our three-unit motel. We live in tiny Coalmont, BC, population 85, where we’re the proud owners of the Mozey-On-Inn. That day we were shovelling the driveway to get ready for guests.

Bob Sterne the Survivor

Bob Sterne the Survivor

Bob, then 63, shovelled near the bottom of the driveway, and I was clearing the heavy snow near the door. I turned and noticed that Bob had fallen. I assumed it was because his replacement knee gave out. I even joked with him to get back up. But he didn’t respond.

I ran down the driveway, turned him over and saw that his eyes were rolled back in his head. I hurried inside to call 911. Meanwhile our neighbours rushed over and began performing CPR on Bob.

When I heard someone shout, “There’s no pulse! He’s not breathing!” I shoved the phone in my pocket, grabbed the defibrillator and ran to Bob’s side. I put the phone on the ground so the operator could hear us.

As we placed the electrode pads on Bob’s chest, the AED began analyzing his condition and giving audio instructions.

It said to stand back and administer the first shock, so I pushed the button. After a second shock, Bob suddenly took a gulp of breath and opened his eyes. But we weren’t out of the woods yet. Bob’s breathing was raspy and even though his eyes were open, he wasn’t responding. I got blankets and we tried to keep him warm while we waited.

The ambulance was on its way but had to travel more than 20 kilometres over icy roads. Finally, 45 minutes later, the paramedics loaded Bob into the ambulance. I followed with a neighbour to the hospital in Princeton, the nearest town.

After a stop at the regional hospital, Bob was sent for in-depth testing at Vancouver General Hospital, where he would stay for a week. The tests showed that Bob’s heart was actually in great shape, with next to no clogs in his arteries. But doctors eventually found the problem: His heart wasn’t sending the right electrical signals to keep a steady beat.

Bob had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) installed. It’s a small, battery-powered device that sends an electrical impulse to his heart if it starts to beat an abnormal rhythm. It was a surprisingly minor operation. Bob was released the day after his surgery.

More than two years later, Bob is doing well. He lost 15 pounds, and his ICD has never had to do anything (but it is a nice insurance policy).

To make sure it’s working well, Bob uses a special device to send regular readings from his ICD to the regional hospital’s heart clinic. They still want to see Bob once a year in person, but having this great device means we don’t have to drive to Penticton in the winter months.

Bob has the OK to shovel snow again, in moderation. And he no longer makes jokes about our AED. Now he’ll tell anyone who will listen that all small communities should have an AED at a central location and everyone should know where it is.

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Teen Saves Grandfather at Home

Posted by cocreator on June 09, 2014
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On a Thursday at Riverside High School, Shelby Morgan learned CPR. That Friday, she learned how to use an automated external defibrillator, which can deliver a lifesaving shock to the heart.

Richard Morgan the Survivor Shelby Morgan the Saviour

Richard Morgan the Survivor Shelby Morgan the Saviour

The following Monday, she saved her grandpa.

A lot of other people saved Dick Morgan, too: the first responders who arrived at his Shadle home on Feb. 10 and shocked his heart back into rhythm, the hospital crew who treated him, cooling his body to slow neurological function and protect his brain after his cardiac arrest, and reporting his prognosis to his family in terms of if – if he recovered, not when.

A 10th-grader at the Riverside Achievement Center, an alternative school in the Riverside School District, Shelby Morgan does most her schoolwork at home. She was at the high school – among three schools in a program launched by Fire District 4 to teach CPR to students – for the training.

It was fresh in her mind when her grandfather collapsed in his kitchen.

“You know how sometimes you just go into a mode of just doing what you have to do? She sure kept her cool,” said Arena Morgan, Shelby’s grandmother.

“It was a key to his survival,” she said.

Shelby’s mother, Deborah Morgan, died in April 2012 of cancer. She lives with her father, Gregg Morgan, in Chattaroy but spends a lot of time at her grandparents’ house.

Diana Bostrum, a teacher at the alternative school who’s known Shelby for about 10 years, called the save “an amazing thing,” but not surprising.

“There’s this calm, mature girl, being adult again,” Bostrum said. “There she is. Composure … that is huge in the heat of the moment, to be able to do it after you just learned it – on a person that you absolutely adore.”

But Feb. 10 was a snowy day, which meant Dick Morgan, 78, spent the morning outdoors with his snowblower.

He remembers coming inside from the cold, through a back door into the kitchen.

“I told my wife, ‘Honey, I’m getting too old to do this anymore,’ ” Dick Morgan said. “I always do my neighborhood. Most of the people are old. So am I, but I didn’t know that until this happened.”

Arena Morgan was in the kitchen, too. Shelby was in the adjacent family room.

Arena remembers her husband leaning against the kitchen table.

“I almost said, ‘Tough one today, honey,’ ” she said, “and he reached for a chair, and he just toppled over backwards and quit breathing.”

Arena yelled for her granddaughter to call 911. “She said, ‘I already have, Grandma,’ ” Arena said.

Those minutes after her grandfather toppled over went by in a blur, Shelby said. At the same time, the minutes until professional rescuers arrived seemed to last an hour, forever.

She said she asked someone on the phone, a dispatcher or a paramedic, whether to start CPR, and they said yes and talked with her as she pressed her grandfather’s chest.

Shelby remembers he was wearing a lot of layers – a coat, sweatshirts, a vest, a T-shirt. The layers made it difficult. Looking back, she said, she thinks she did a better job on the dummy at school.

But her grandmother said the professionals who treated Dick Morgan have credited Shelby with saving him.

“They’re saying that’s what kept him going,” Arena Morgan said. “I kind of went into hysteria, panic, and she just kept her cool. She said she was really churning on the inside, but you would have never known it.”

The Morgans’ experience demonstrates the potential impact of CPR training, said Dr. Joel Edminster, medical director for Fire District 4 and an emergency department doctor at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

“This is a perfect example of sudden cardiac arrest that would have resulted in a fatality or severe neurological dysfunction” without CPR, he said.

The result of an electrical problem that disrupts the heart’s rhythm and pumping action, cardiac arrest stops perfusion, or blood flow to the heart and brain. Heart attacks and cardiac arrest aren’t the same, although heart attacks – when a blood clot blocks blood from flowing through a coronary artery – often cause cardiac arrest.

Not everyone in cardiac arrest can be saved. Some bad heart rhythms cannot be corrected by an electric shock.

But when a victim can be saved, CPR is key. While that used to mean alternating chest compressions with rescue breaths, research has found hands-only CPR – resuscitation without mouth-to-mouth breaths – is more effective.

By pushing hard and fast in the center of the victim’s chest, a bystander can re-establish blood flow to the victim’s heart and brain, buying time until they can be shocked.

On Dick Morgan, rescuers had to use their defibrillator just once, said Ryan Schaefer, a registered nurse and the electrophysiology coordinator at Sacred Heart. Schaefer nominated Shelby for her Young Hero Award.

“With one shock they were able to restore his normal rhythm,” he said. “That is ideal.”

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Teammates & Bystanders Save Elderly Man during Football Game

Posted by cocreator on May 26, 2014
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Michael Darlington 60, of Miranda, counts his blessings each day. He suffered cardiac arrest as he played touch football at Old Bush Road Oval, Yarrawarrah, last May 8.

With medical help minutes away, it was up to his teammates and bystanders to keep him alive.

Mr Darlington’s team had just scored a try moments into the second half when the father-of-three collapsed on the field.

“We got back on the field in the second half and I don’t remember anything about it,” he said.

Brett Thatcher, of Engadine, who was playing in Mr Darlington’s team, was the first person to see he was in trouble.

“I thought he’d fallen over and bumped his head,” Mr Thatcher said. “He had shallow breathing but was still conscious.”

In seconds the situation changed and Mr Darlington lost consciousness.

Mr Thatcher began mouth-to-mouth and Matthew Wallis, of Kirrawee, started compressions. They worked tirelessly for six minutes as Peter Ciccia, of Kirrawee, spoke to emergency services through triple-0.

“We got him back twice, so we knew it was working,” Mr Thatcher said.

Across the oval, Matt Alewood and Matt Henson were playing in another game when they saw the commotion.

Both trained in CPR, they took over giving Mr Darlington another seven minutes of resuscitation and chest compressions.

“Mike’s colour started coming back,” Mr Henson said.

When David Stride and Scott McNamara arrived in the ambulance they knew the chances of Mr Darlington surviving were slim.

“I saw the boys doing CPR at the back of the oval and I just told them to keep going,” Mr McNamara said.

“The odds are always against you when someone goes into cardiac arrest but good CPR buys us time and saves lives.”

Mr Darlington had to be shocked with a defibrillator before his heart rhythm returned. He was taken to Sutherland Hospital and had surgery to remove an artery blockage.

After five weeks off work and months of rehabilitation Mr Darlington has made a remarkable recovery. “It was a life-changing event,” he said. “I can’t thank the boys and the paramedics enough.”

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Teammates Save Elderly Man during Hockey Game

Posted by cocreator on April 11, 2014
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One life has been saved thanks to one of six new defibrillators installed in Fort Erie’s municipal buildings.


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A 65 year-old senior hockey player collapsed on the ice at the Fort Erie Leisureplex Tuesday morning. His team mates started CPR and hooked up the man to an AED and saved his life.

“By the time I got there, he had a good pulse and he was breathing,” fire Chief Larry Coplen said.

The Fort Erie Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services responded for the call of a man who collapsed on the ice at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday. The man was taken to hospital and treated.

“The life saving units are worth about $2,500 each,” Coplen said.

The fire chief said these units, which are easy to use, can improve cardiac arrest survival rates by 75%.

Although Coplen knew the units would save lives, he didn’t think one of the new units would be used so soon.

He feels it’s important for the public to know how to use a defibrillator in the case of an emergency.

“If members of the public can help (by using a defibrillator), the people who require help can increase their survival rates significantly.”

“People are apprehensive about using these units, however, anyone can learn and anyone can be very effective in saving a life just by taking a three-hour course.”

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Staff & Bystanders Save Elderly Man in Club

Posted by cocreator on April 03, 2014
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Thursday, March 6, was an afternoon Jori Bourdon is certain she’ll never forget.


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That’s the afternoon Bourdon and others saved a life.

Bourdon is the general manager of Norton Pines Athletic Club, 1350 Judson Rd.

Around 1 p.m. March 6, Bourdon heard a shout from the club’s Level 2: “Call 911, a man is down.”

A member of the club, reportedly in his 70s, had suddenly collapsed. He wasn’t breathing, according to eyewitnesses.

Personnel at the front desk called 911, and Bourdon ran upstairs. A man was trying CPR. Bourdon took over with that, and another employee brought up a defibrillator.

A club member came up to help Bourdon with chest compressions. The AED was opened, and someone cut the man’s shirt off. Bourdon and another staffer put the device’s pads on his chest. The readout advised that shock be applied, so they did, and kept doing it until the device said no shock advised, Bourdon said.

They continued CPR and monitored the man to see if he was breathing. Around that time firefighter first responders arrived, followed quickly by a Professional Med Team ambulance and Norton Shores police.

“My training automatically kicked in,” Bourdon said. “I was shocked that I could hold myself together under a stressful situation and be able to perform CPR. Everything I had been trained to do came to me.”

Bourdon credits “very thorough” training courses for Norton Pines employees by the club’s safety instructor, Jack Redeker. All employees are CPR certified and trained in first aid and AED use, she said. The club holds a training class monthly.

“It is very important to have an AED and until I had to use it they were just three boxes placed strategically around the club,” Bourdon said. “We all know where they are, but they now have meaning to me.

“The paramedics said we did everything right and that the AED saved his life.”

The experience has changed her, Bourdon said.

“Even though the outcome was so positive, it is very emotional and it will change me forever,” she said. “I am so thankful that if something like this had to happen, I am glad that it happened here where we could help him.”

Rescue personnel were impressed at the response and the good results.

“When we walked in, the gentleman was still on the floor, was not yet conscious but was breathing,” Kinnucan said. “Within a matter of a couple of minutes after our arrival, he was talking to us.”

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