Watch above: A Saskatoon man who suffered a heart attack in his workplace knows first-hand that CPR and AED’s save lives. Meaghan Craig speaks to the survivor and relates his message to others during this, CPR awareness month.
SASKATOON – A blast of winter over the weekend proved to be downright dangerous for some in Saskatoon. On Sunday, paramedics with MD Ambulance responded to two separate calls of people suffering heart attacks while shovelling snow.
All the more reason, officials explain, why it’s important to know how to perform CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Ted Brown, 65, knows all too well the importance of the lifesaving technique after co-workers saved his life on March 31.
“Nothing was different or out of the normal and apparently I was just wandering into the office and that’s all I remember.”
His wife Brenda recalls the day as though it was yesterday.
“Phone rang at 9:30 on a Monday morning and the gentleman who actually did the chest compressions on Ted said ‘Ted’s had a heart attack’ and I guess he drew the short straw for someone to phone and say that there was something wrong so by the time I got there, the paramedics were there and he was already in the ambulance.”
Ted would wake up 10 days later in hospital after being put into a medically-induced coma and is lucky to be alive after that day.
Ted’s office, Wheaton GMC Buick Cadillac Ltd., was equipped with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
“What I was told from paramedics and hospital staff is that if the AED hadn’t have been there he wouldn’t have made it,” said Brenda.
“I was parking a car out back just before this happened and if that had happened out there they would have found me probably maybe two days later,” said Ted.
Five people will soon be honoured for their bravery and will receive awards for helping to save Ted’s life. A life forever changed, although he won’t admit.
“He smiles more, he laughs more, he’s working a little bit less … just happier.”
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in Saskatchewan.
“As a population we are exercising less, we are eating more poorly, lots of stress in our lives and that of course leads to cardiovascular disease and in turn that leads to heart attack and strokes,” explained Ian Erickson, an instructor with St. John Ambulance.
Yet, officials say only two per cent of the population knows CPR.
“It’s very important because cardiac arrests can happen anywhere, anytime to virtually anyone and we know that so learning CPR you can not only save a stranger you can save a loved one,” said Patty Booth, the training centre manager at St. John Ambulance.
“Anything is better than nothing but of course knowing how to do it properly will increase the chances of survival,” added Erickson.
Officials say while the basics are still the same, CPR is constantly changing so it’s crucial to take a course and be recertified every three years.
“We’re still doing compressions and breathes but the numbers of each of those have evolved as people have gotten together and studied the effects and made some protocol changes along the way so it’s constantly evolving,” explained Erickson.
If you know how to respond, the survival rate is eight per cent; introduce an AED into the equation and that rate jumps to 45 per cent.
At present, there are 780 AEDs located in Saskatoon, the most per capita in North America and saving 17 lives.