WATCH: We are hearing for the first time from a bike shop owner gunned down in Yaletown last month. John Daly has this Global News exclusive.
Paul Dragan believes it is a miracle he survived a brazen daylight shooting in Yaletown in early June.
The 52-year-old Dragan was shot on a sidewalk in front of the Starbucks on Davie Street and Marinaside Crescent on June 10. The suspect, Gerald Battersby was charged with attempted murder of Dragan, along with five counts of attempted murder in relation to police officers involved in the shootout.
In an exclusive interview with Global News, Dragan says he mercifully has no recollection of the shooting and when he woke up in Vancouver General Hospital, he thought it was the next day. In fact, it was five days later.
From the moment Dragan was shot, he believes there were many factors at play that saved his life. It’s as though he was provided with everything necessary to keep him alive.
As Dragan tells Global News, it started with Dr. Clifford Chase, an ER doctor who rushed to Dragan’s aid and stopped any CPR being administered since it would have made him bleed out and instead, packed his wound to stem the bleeding. To the homicide police officers on-site that radioed for an ambulance immediately, which went straight to Emergency Health Services dispatch. And lastly to the paramedics, who transported Dragan to VGH and happened to be Advanced Life Support (PALS) medics from the Infant Transport Team (ITT).
WATCH EXTENDED INTERVIEW: Paul Dragan spoke exclusively to reporter, and friend, John Daly about his recovery.
All played a part, Dragan believes in keeping him alive, despite the fact Dr. Chase, the paramedics, and the trauma team at VGH thought he was not going to make it because he had lost from 60 to 80 per cent of his blood.
“If anyone of those steps hadn’t happened — I wouldn’t be here,” Dragan, who is the owner of Reckless Bikes.
Dragan says, despite their thoughts, no one stopped trying.
To give some perspective of the severity of Dragan’s wound, the ITT paramedics came to visit him and said his vitals flatlined twice while enroute to the hospital, and that the 52-year-old had lost so much blood in the ambulance, they had to sweep it out of the back.
Additionally, the VGH trauma surgeon, Dr. Hameed, had to cut out his breast bone immediately and pump his heart with his hand to get blood to his brain. It’s at this point, Dragan’s wife Erica says that doctors told her he had been without any blood pressure for seven minutes.
Despite everything that happened to Dragan, today he can walk, talk and his brain is fine.
The only visible signs of his trauma is a 70 centimetre scar from one armpit to the other across his chest, and some pain and weakness due to having lost one lobe of his right lung. He has no trauma or nightmares due to the the incident.
An athlete all his life, Dragan says his recovery has been gradual starting with some simple walks and now he’s to the point where he’s walking each day. He hopes that in a month or two he’ll be able to go back to work and start exercising again. While he knows he won’t be doing any triathlons in the near future, Dragan says he’d love to be able to eventually participate in an event with his son.
Slideshow of the support for Dragan: