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Heartfelt reunion after life-saving CPR intervention

On October 20, 2023, BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) presented a Vital Link Award to a young man who sprang into action after his father’s sudden cardiac arrest in their east Vancouver home last April.
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​The ceremony not only honoured Bryce Young for performing CPR; it also gave his family a chance to meet and thank the paramedics involved in saving Wayne’s life.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome,” said Bryce. “You know everything really worked in our favour, and we are very fortunate to have our dad still with us and fully healthy, and for that we are very thankful.”

The BCEHS Vital Link Award honours the skillful and quick-thinking actions of bystanders who use CPR or an automated external defibrillator (AED) in cardiac arrest emergencies. Such actions are a vital link to a patient’s successful survival.

On April 17, 2023, Bryce was asleep upstairs as his parents were working out downstairs in their home gym. Bryce’s father, Wayne, had just gotten off the elliptical trainer and was about to start doing weights when he began feeling unwell. He told his wife that he felt like he was going to “pass out” and then collapsed.

Bryce awoke to his mother’s screams for help and rushed downstairs to see what was going on. He called 911 for an ambulance and following the advice of BCEHS Emergency Medical Call-taker Anna Avery, immediately began chest compressions. Bryce, 26, had learned CPR as a grade 12 student in high school, but had not performed CPR on anyone until that day. The Emergency Medical Call Taker he said, helped him with the pacing.

“They always tell you to do it to [the song] 'Staying Alive' and fortunately my dad did stay alive,” he remarked.

“I am so so proud of him, [that] he was able to do what he did that morning,” says Wayne, who has no memory of the incident. “I can’t imagine so much stress - from me being down and no one else apart from my wife and he just jumped in and did what he had to do.”

After presenting Bryce with the award, Advanced Care Paramedic Lisa Salt said,“Bryce was very important, he was that key chain in the link of survival.”

Lisa further explained: “The emergency medical call-taker giving instructions, Bryce being brave and doing them even though it seems unnatural and unsure; to firefighters arriving continuing, and us as a team arriving and we bridge to definitive care at VGH [Vancouver General Hospital]. Bryce did a good job.

“CPR training is really important, don’t hesitate if you need to do it, phone 911 and they’ll walk you through it,” says Paramedic Public Information Officer, Brian Twaites, adding that bystander-initiated CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can double the chance of survival.

Lisa adds, “Just trust what you are hearing from the call-taker, and do the best you can in the moment, and I think you will rarely regret attempting versus not attempting.”

The Vital Link Award presentation was especially touching for the family and the four responding paramedics Lisa Salt, Chelsea Smith, Josh Lowery, and Ted Ervine who attended the ceremony.

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“It means a lot to us. We don’t really get the opportunity to see patients after the fact and we are left to kind of guess based on the circumstances we see them in. To be able to meet the patient when they are up and well and to see their family dynamic - it means a lot,” said Lisa.

 “We owe you so much, thank you,” said Wayne’s wife, Susan, before presenting each of them with cards with handwritten messages.

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