It’s not easy to keep BC Emergency Health Services’ most prestigious community honour, the Vital Link Award a secret, but that’s what happened last month.
The award is given to bystanders who help BC Ambulance Service paramedics and dispatchers save a cardiac arrest patient’s life.
BCEHS presented Melinda Geddes with the award for her quick reactions when administering CPR to a patient who collapsed at a funeral. Melinda’s partner Rick Geddes is a paramedic in Port Alberni.
“I had to lure Melinda to the station somehow, so I told her that I was getting an award for saving some guy,” Rick said. “She doesn’t like a lot of fanfare so when she received the award the first thing she said to me was 'You’re so dead.'”
Melinda was presented with the award, surrounded by her family, friends and colleagues. She is modest about her role, saying she reacted as anyone would react in the situation that day.
Amy Poll, the Patient Care Delivery District Manager, Oceanside, was also at the award ceremony. “Oftentimes, our family and friends are among the first to react in a medical emergency,” said Poll. “They hear first-hand about how a bystander can make the difference between life and death and that stays with them.”
“As someone who saves lives every day, I often tell people the simplest thing you can do to help us is to take a CPR course,” Geddes added. “It really is the simplest thing to learn and it can save someone’s life.”
BCEHS responded to 5,134 suspected cardiac arrests in 2016, of which 348 occurred in central Vancouver Island.
“The Vital Link award is our way of saying thank you to those bystanders who help us save a life by caring for a patient until paramedics arrive,” Poll said. “The award reminds the public that even seemingly small steps like taking a CPR course or noticing where public AEDs are located can help save someone’s life one day.”
For more information on BCEHS community awards, please visit the webpage