City workers recognized for helping to save London man’s life

City workers Jon Sweitzer (left) and Chris Lynch (right) are being credited with helping save Doug Cairns' (middle) life.
City workers Jon Sweitzer (left) and Chris Lynch (right) are being credited with helping save Doug Cairns' (middle) life. Jake Jeffrey / 980 CFPL

A pair of sanitation operators with the City of London are being recognized for helping save a man’s life earlier this month.

March 7 started like any other day for Chris Lynch and Jon Sweitzer, but what happened during their morning garbage pickup run was far from ordinary.

Things seemed routine as the pair completed their regular pickup in the Oakridge area with Lynch driving the truck and Sweitzer handling pickup duties from the back.

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Sweitzer says he noticed Doug Cairns shovelling his driveway, but as they got a few houses down the street, he saw him lying on the ground.

That’s when he sprung into action.

“I ran over to see if he was all right but he wasn’t responding, so I got Chris to come over and that’s when I called 911,” said Sweitzer.

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“Chris started doing compressions on him and not long after that EMS arrived.”

He says although he’s had his CPR training for years, it’s the first time he’s had to apply it to a real-life situation.

Doug Cairns suffered cardiac arrest and the quick actions from Lynch and Sweitzer helped stabilize him before EMS arrived minutes later. Emergency crews used a defibrillator on Cairns and transported him to hospital.

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The 67-year-old is certainly thankful the two city workers knew what they were doing.

“Thank you for saving my life, I’ve been assured by the medical staff at the hospital that they saved my life,” said Cairns, who is still recovering from his cardiac arrest.

“That’s the most amazing part to me. Who would have thought the guys working in the garbage truck were CPR-trained, lucky me that they were, they saved my life.”

Cairns says the situation has motivated him and his wife to get their CPR training, once he’s healthy enough to do so. He says it’s something everyone should know how to do.

Lynch says it was nice to hear from Cairns after the incident.

“He was very thankful, he gave us a call a few days later and he was definitely grateful, we were just happy to help.”

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Days after helping save a life, Sweitzer’s wife gave birth to their second son.

“It’s crazy how things happen, he actually wasn’t supposed to be due for another two weeks,” said Sweitzer.

“Helping save a life and having a newborn in the same week is pretty amazing.”

He says this will definitely be one of the stories they share with their son when he gets a little older.

Lynch and Sweitzer received their Life Saving Awards in a ceremony Wednesday morning in front of city hall.