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We celebrate our 2019 life-saving bystanders

In late August, 2019, Steven had a cardiac arrest at his home in Okanagan Falls. This month he celebrated, opening his home to neighbours, a medical emergency call taker and paramedics whom he credits with saving his life.
Cardiac arrest patient Steven St. Germain & emergency medical dispatcher Michelle Foley, Vital Link ceremony in Okanagan Falls
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Cardiac arrest patient Steven St. Germain and emergency medical dispatcher Michelle Foley at a Vital Link ceremony in Okanagan Falls. Photo credit: Phil McLachlan, Penticton Western News.

The gathering featured a BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) Vital Link Award ceremony for Steven’s neighbours, who performed CPR before paramedics arrived.

BCEHS honours the life-saving actions of bystanders with Vital Link Awards on a regular basis – about 20 awards a year are presented to honour the skilful actions of members of the public who assist in a cardiac arrest emergency. 

Vital Link recipients are the brave and quick-thinking people who perform CPR and/or use an AED on a patient; they represent the vital link to a patient’s survival.

This was certainly the case with Steven. His neighbours, Ken and Kim, called 9-1-1 and, with help from emergency medical dispatcher Michelle, performed CPR until Okanagan Falls firefighters arrived, and then paramedics Scott and Colin soon after. 

For every minute that passes without help, a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by about 10 per cent. 

Steven had to be shocked about 15 times with an AED before Scott and Colin could resuscitate him. He wasn’t expected to survive.

The BCEHS Vital Link Award is an important part of recognizing survival. 

Steven probably explains it best. “It needs to be recognized because these are special situations where life is in the balance, and because of one person’s actions, somebody has the opportunity to move forward another day.” 

Here are some of this year’s BCEHS Vital Link Award recipients*:

  • Ken and Kim Oszinski, saved neighbour’s life with CPR: Okanagan Falls
  • Kayle Trottier, Kale Rempel and Nic McLaren, saved father having a cardiac arrest in his vehicle: Kelowna
  • Sandra Campbell, responded to a man having a cardiac arrest at A&W: Port Hardy
  • Angela Schwab and Alice Eerling, performed CPR on a performer who collapsed on stage: Nanaimo
  • Ryan Uppal, Anthony Mauricio, Grace Marginson and Gavneet Sabharwal, life-saving CPR and AED on a 14-year-old who collapsed in a weight room: Surrey 
  • Police officers Matt Plant and Rob De Roos, for saving the life of an overdose patient on the side of the road: West Vancouver
  • Eriks Suchovs, Bob Shafto, David Scott and David Sproule, performed life-saving CPR on a hotel guest: Revelstoke
  • Police constables Jennifer West and Rob Kennett who came across an individual in cardiac arrest while on patrol: Delta
  • Emma Larose, Bronwen Thorburn and Meghan Weir who resuscitated a colleague suffering from a cardiac related attack: Cowichan Valley
  • Gordon Bryant who helped a stranger in cardiac distress along a walking trail: Chilliwack
  • Wendy Swain whose CPR helped save the life of one of her students: Vancouver
  • Veronica Murphy and Shannon Gillis, lifeguards who administered CPR to a person in distress: Dawson Creek
  • Eight-year-old Nathan Rugge and dad, Justin Rugge, for helping a stranger in a life-threatening situation: Burnaby
  • Lifeguards Jeff Harris, Katie Bowers, Wade Thoreson and Ceilidh Robertson-Jones for performing CPR on a rec centre patron: Victoria
  • Stefano Bianchin, saved his co-worker’s life with bystander CPR: Burnaby
  • Tong Lam, Bill Funnell, Jamie Wosk, Jason Keurvorst, Sara Chong, Nicolle Holme and Atif Jastaniah, responded to a man who collapsed at the beach: Vancouver
  • Seth Fraser, responded to a man in medical distress on a downtown sidewalk: Vancouver
  • Florian Prenz and Mark Rogers, performed bystander CPR on a man collapsed on a road: Duncan
  • Jon Munk, performed life-saving CPR on a man who collapsed in his garden: Penticton
  • Franjo Gasparovic, Megan Rook and Mark Slade, responded to a woman in cardiac arrest during a half marathon: Kelowna
  • Rys Rabang saved his girlfriend’s life when she went into cardiac arrest at home: Vancouver
  • Elisa Mitchell saved her husband’s life when he collapsed while working out at home: Brentwood Bay.
  • Laura Hume and Lorna Hruby performed life-saving CPR on a person who collapsed in front of their practice: Vancouver
  • Josh Cameron and Emily Zamora saved a man’s life when he went into cardiac arrest at a health club: Vancouver
  • Teachers Steve Podmorow and Mike Russo saved the life of a student who went into cardiac arrest: Oliver.
*Due to privacy reasons, not all 2019 recipients are listed here.
SOURCE: We celebrate our 2019 life-saving bystanders ( )
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