Jamie Maclaren didn’t know it at the time, but he was likely in the best spot to have a heart attack.
“I thought I was just having a panic attack,” he said. “It didn’t even occur to me that I was having a heart attack.”
The seemingly fit Vancouver lawyer in his early 40s was playing hockey at Burnaby 8 Rinks last week when he went into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, there were several automatic external defibrillators in the arena and his teammates knew what to do.
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One of his teammates works as a registered nurse and began assessing the situation. Others called 911 and performed CPR and grabbed the portable defibrillator. If it weren’t for the actions of his teammates Maclaren would be dead.
“After about 10 or 12 compressions, Jamie went ‘uh’ and then he started saying he’s OK,” teammate Andrew Barry said.
The risk factors for heart attack are not a mystery, but cardiologists say too often people treat heart health too casually.
“Adult men and women who know that there’s high cholesterol in their family should be tested even if they’re in their 20s or 30s,” says cardiologist Gordon Francis.
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The teammates have always been close. Now they share a bond that few people will understand. Maclaren is alive to go home to his wife and son thanks to people who knew what to do.
“I clinically died,” He said. “And then you come back from death, and that’s hard to wrap your head around.”