When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, it is often unexpected as we hope these events will never occur. Unfortunately, when they do happen, you want to be 100% prepared. Having an AED in these types of emergencies can more than double the chance of survival for someone who experiences a heart-related event. It can happen anywhere at any time: at school, an average day at work, at a sporting arena – anywhere. It is when an individual cannot get an AED or it takes too long to arrive that problems arise. If an AED is not received in time, the lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to permanent damage or fatality. Because an emergency can occur anywhere, more AEDs are needed in more public places. That way no matter where your day takes you, you can feel safe and prepared!
1. Martin Dansereau – Home
It is never easy to see a family member suffer a heart attack, but when trained and prepared, you can be the one to save their life. Maslyn Dansereau was studying at home when she heard a loud crash in the kitchen. Running in she found her father, Martin Dansereau, face-down on the ground. Instantly, she pushed the fear and emotion aside and began to approach the situation with a level-head. Maslyn instructed her mother to call 911 while she began CPR. Maslyn continued CPR on her father for 20 minutes until paramedics could arrive and give Martin shocks with the AED to restart his heart. It was quick thinking for Maslyn to start CPR immediately, and lucky that she was able to keep her father alive long enough for the AED to arrive. In most instances where an individual does not receive an AED before 20 minutes, it leads to death. Lucky for Martin, this was not the case.
2. Jeffrey Kirshenbaum – Dental Clinic
Just as Jeffery arrived at the dental clinic where he worked, he went into cardiac arrest. Reacting instantly, the staff at the clinic called 911, and began compressions and mouth-to-mouth, taking turns so as to not tire themselves. Thankfully the office had purchased an AED! A staff member grabbed the AED and began using it right away, bringing Jeffery back to life. Due to the team effort and fast response, Jeffrey was able to get proper attention with the AED and survived because of it. Jeffrey Kirshenbaum is so grateful for his coworkers: “Every time I see my grandchildren, I say, ‘I almost wasn’t here.’ It is because of what you did that I’m here today.”
3. Charles Gevirtz – Barber Shop
Emergencies can occur anywhere, even in a barber shop. In Detroit, Charles fell due to a cardiac arrest. A young teen entering the barber shop saw the incident and happened to be CPR certified. He began compressions and breaths right away while another called 911. Miraculously a doctor walking nearby heard the alarmed voices and came in to help. Even more incredible was that 2 police officers were nearby who answered the call and came with the AED from their vehicle. It was this AED that saved Charles’s life and had only been purchased one month prior to the incident. Once shocks were administered, Charles was resuscitated and taken to the hospital and was soon in stable condition.
4. Ali Khaleghi – Hockey Arena
In November 2014 at a hockey game in Toronto at the Herbert H. Carnegie Centennial Centre, young Ali Khaleghi collapsed. The arena manager, ran to Ali and began CPR. While the manager and a few others continued CPR, someone ran for the arena’s AED, although was unsure of where to find it. The AED was found and Ali received the lifesaving shocks, his heart restarting shortly after. Parents felt strongly that the boy was only alive because of the close proximity of an AED. Without it, Ali surely would have been lost. Because the location of the AED was unclear, later, parents suggested that “rinks might want to create a path to the AED to help individuals locate it.”
5. Jordan Boyd – Hockey Training Camp
Unlike Ali, when an AED is not available or is too far away, an individual may not survive. At a hockey training camp in Nova Scotia in 2013, 16-year-old Jordan Boyd suffered a cardiac arrest. It was found that Jordan had an undiagnosed heart condition that caused the cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, no AED was nearby and when paramedics finally came, it was too late. Even though the paramedics arrived 11 minutes after the call, it was not soon enough. It is crucial that in the minutes after collapse, an AED is rushed as soon as possible. Every minute spent without attention is another moment closer to permanent brain damage or death.
6. Diane Robinson – Church
At a church in Regina, minister Diane Robinson remembers feeling dizzy. A coworker suggested that she sit down and relax, but everything that happened afterwards, Diane cannot remember. She passed out and her coworker noticed that Diane’s heart was beating rapidly and her lips had gone blue. She reacted quickly and called 911. The first responder spoke to the coworker and immediately asked if an AED was nearby. It was perfect timing as an AED was installed only 2 months prior. With the instruction of the 911 agent on the phone, Diane’s coworker was able to administer shocks and perform CPR that saved Diane’s life.
7. Alan Robertson – Soccer Field
It is unfortunate that AEDs are not mandatory in public places. Thankfully someone thought to purchase an AED for local Edmonton soccer fields. It was here that 57-year-old Alan Robertson collapsed. His teammate Matt Austin was a trained EMT, and noticed a red glass case at the edge of the arena. Matt took action: “I realized he’d had a cardiac arrest. I told the group to start CPR, and asked for someone to call 911.” He then told another individual to run and grab the AED. For 5 minutes, Matt did CPR and administered shocks to his teammate. Suddenly, Alan took a large breath and opened his eyes. The soccer team was never happier that someone made the decision to place an AED in the arena, but no one happier than Alan Robertson.
8. Bob Harper – Gym
Many know Bob Harper from the famous “Biggest Loser” show where he trains and advises people into a healthier lifestyle. While at his local gym, Bob Harper began his usual fitness routine, but at the end of the workout was not feeling good. Only moments later, he had a heart attack. Thankfully, two doctors attended the gym and were there the moment that Bob went down. The two began CPR right away. Shortly after they started CPR, an AED located in the gym was brought to them. They shocked Bob twice before the paramedics arrived. Bob was given another shock and was then brought to the hospital in stable condition. After two days in a coma, Bob woke up and was happy to be alive.
9. Bryant Thomson – Slo-pitch Arena
While playing a slo-pitch game at the Little Mountain Sportsplex, just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bryant Thomson fell. At first, they assumed that Bryant had fallen due to the heat, but when the night manager, Gord Stevenson got there they knew it was more serious. Instantly they called 911 and yelled for someone to grab the AED. Once the AED was rushed over, Gord began administering shocks until Bryant took a deep breath, but was still not responsive. The players nearby then began to perform CPR on Bryant until the paramedics arrived. Afterwards, Gord said that, “without the machine, I don’t think he would have made it.” What made this an event to celebrate was that the AED was installed only 2 hours earlier. Without the decision to add an AED, Bryant might not be alive today.
10. Ted Brown – Car Dealership
It was just another day of heading to work for Ted Brown, an employee at Saskatoon’s Wheaton GMC Buick Cadillac store. However, today, while at work, Ted collapsed, suffering from a cardiac arrest. His co-workers came to assist right away, calling 911 and beginning CPR. Thankfully, the company had an AED and it was immediately retrieved and applied to Ted. The employees who had grabbed the AED had never used one and were not confident in what to do. They decided that it didn’t matter how little they knew, and instead followed the instructions: apply the pads and began administering shocks. Emergency responders came to the scene and took Ted to the hospital where he made a full recovery. Without the use of an AED, Ted may not be able to share his story.