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Montreal teen lucky to be alive thanks to CPR-trained bystanders

Click to play video 'Montreal teen lucky to be alive thanks for CPR-trained bystanders' Montreal teen lucky to be alive thanks for CPR-trained bystanders
WATCH: Firefighters of Station 51 responded to a call for a 15-year-old boy in cardiopulmonary arrest on the ice. On Saturday, the teen visited the firefighters to thank them for saving his life. Global's Phil Carpenter has the story. – Jan 25, 2020

A West Island teen is lucky to be alive today, thanks to a few CPR- trained bystanders.

On Nov. 29, 2019 at the Macdonald arena in Ste-Anne de Bellevue, 15-year-old Jacob Dawes collapsed while playing hockey.

Lt. Joel Leger from fire station 51 in St-Anne took the call.

“It was written on the computer: 9E1, fifteen years old, cardiac arrest, on the ice,” he told Global News.

READ MORE: Student’s near-death experience prompts Montreal school to implement mandatory CPR training

He and a colleague raced to the arena, treated Jacob and an ambulance rushed the teenager to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

The teen’s father, Rodney Dawes, tells Global News he was numb with fear.

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“[I was] honestly really scared and thinking and wondering, ‘Is this the end? Am I losing him right now?” he recalled, his voice breaking.

“He’s basically put in a drug-induced coma for 36 hours.”

He said doctors still don’t know why his son had a heart attack, but that Joel is in good shape now.

But Leger explained that Jacob had a couple of very lucky breaks.

“Two cops who were not on duty and they started CPR,” Leger said.  “And also an off-duty nurse was there.”

“Yep,” Jacob nodded.  “Without them, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here right now.”

READ MORE: We’re doing CPR all wrong, Canadian doctor suggests

In light of the situation, Leger stresses the importance of learning CPR.  In 30 years, he claims he’s had more than 70 calls for people with heart attacks.  He’s saved just three of them.

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“All of these three cases, there were people that started CPR before,” he pointed out.  “The ones that CPR wasn’t [started] before, they never came back.”

The other thing that helped Jacob was a defibrillator that hangs in the arena just behind the players’ bench.  According to Leger, the two off-duty police officers, used it to help keep his blood circulating, even if they couldn’t get a pulse.

Click to play video 'Learning CPR and the Heimlich manoeuver from St. John Ambulance' Learning CPR and the Heimlich manoeuver from St. John Ambulance
Learning CPR and the Heimlich manoeuver from St. John Ambulance – Dec 11, 2018

Since that incident, Jacob’s father went out and bought a defibrillator which he plans to keep in his truck

“I paid $2,000,” he said. “Just from what I saw, it’s such a simple tool, and it does it all for you.”

Jacob now has a defibrillator implanted in him, likely for life, according to Rodney.

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“It’s his new guardian angel,” his father said.

“He keeps it with him all the time, just in case it happens again.”

He also said doctors have told his son he cannot play hockey anymore.  But Jacob said he’s learned a lesson from the experience and he’s going to take CPR training.

“I’m getting a course tomorrow,” he smiled. “My whole family.”

His father added that the other parents have also taken something positive from the incident, and many have taken the time to become CPR-certified.

“Just being able to do that, knowing how to use the defibrillator, could change everything.”