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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.”


View First Aid Corps World Map of Lives Saved with AEDs in a larger map

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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Cops Save Man at Home

Posted by cocreator on June 09, 2014
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Quick response with an AED is being credited for saving a life early Saturday morning.

Vigo County Sheriff’s Department responded to the 1800 Block of Oakridge Parkway in southern Vigo County just before 3 a.m.

Deputies were the first to arrive at the scene and found a 49-year-old man in cardiac arrest, not breathing and with no pulse.

Chief Deputy Clark Cottom said two of the deputies connected their AED and began CPR The man began breathing on his own and regained a strong pulse.

“Quick response by the deputies and the A.E.D. saved the man’s life,” Cottom said.

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Son & Medics Save Mother at Home

Posted by cocreator on June 06, 2014
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Ronda Stuart-Good hardly remembers the morning her teenage son saved her, pumping her chest to mimic the rhythm of her quiet heart.

Jesse Good the Saviour Ronda Stuart-Good the Survivor

Jesse Good the Saviour Ronda Stuart-Good the Survivor

She walked inside with the dog, unhooked it from the leash and sat down at the kitchen table.

That much she knows.

Doctors would later tell her that Jesse’s quick thinking on Feb. 15 saved both her life and her brain function.

“It’s OK to feel things,” his aunt, Lisa Stuart, says. “We’ve all shed a lot of tears this past month.”

When Jesse, 14, took a babysitting course 21/2 years ago and learned CPR, he never pictured what it would be like to do it for real. On his mother.

He remembers watching her slide out of the chair and onto the floor, a moment he talks about quietly, looking down. He called 911 and, at the dispatcher’s instruction, began chest compressions.

He describes the motions of his hands as though he’s talking about someone else.

“I just remember what happened,” he says. “But I can’t remember how I felt.”

He had steady hands but he knows his voice shook on the phone as the operator told him what to do.

Five minutes later, paramedics took over, using a defibrillator three times to restart the Cole Harbour woman’s heart.

Stuart-Good says she doesn’t remember much of what happened after that, letting her sister fill in the details.

The Cole Harbour mom is slight, frequently pushing dark hair out of a face that looks younger than 43. You’d never guess she had a heart attack a month ago.

Her profile stumped doctors as well; she’s fit, doesn’t smoke and has no history of heart disease in the family.

But she was near death when paramedics rushed her to Dartmouth General Hospital. Doctors lowered her body temperature and put her in an induced coma, which she awoke from a day later, foggy, but able to recognize her mother, her cousin and a video of her two sons.

Pride creeps into Stuart’s voice when she talks about her nephew. She’s been a Mountie for more than 20 years but has never had to use her first-aid training.

She’s hoping he’ll receive an award through the Red Cross for saving his mother’s life.

She’s hopeful, too, that sharing the family’s story might encourage other parents to make sure their children take first-aid training.

It’s been a hard month for the entire family. A cardiologist found scar tissue on Stuart-Good’s heart, likely the result of a virus or bacterial infection.

The organ became progressively weaker, she says, which is why she’s now got a small defibrillator implanted in her chest.

She’s not yet well enough to go back to work at Lawton’s, but things at home are slowly returning to normal, she says.

She hardly heard her sons when she first came home, but they’re getting rowdy again. The younger boy, Jayme, is eight.

She smiles.

“I’m so proud of my boys,” she says. “So proud.”

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9 Year Old Saves Father by Stomping on Chest

Posted by cocreator on May 31, 2014
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A 9-year-old-girl has been hailed a hero after saving her father’s life by kicking him when his heart stopped.

Izzy McCarron stamped on her father Colm’s chest when she realized she wasn’t strong to get his heart going with her arms.

Her father had suffered a mysterious allergic reaction, reports Metro.

“I just kicked him really hard,” said Izzy. “My mum taught me CPR but I knew I wasn’t strong enough to use hands. I was quite scared.”

“My mum said that he was going to hospital with a giant footprint on his chest,” she added.

Doctors think Izzy’s father may have developed the allergic condition anaphylaxis, reports Metro.

For her efforts, Izzy, from Derbyshire, central England, has received an “outstanding bravery” award from her school.

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