Earl Morris thanks first-aid professionals and the staff at the Cowichan District Hospital for saving his life after having a heart attack. (File photo)

First aid training becomes real deal after student suffers heart attack

AED likely saved his life

When Nanaimo’s Earl Morris signed up for his first-aid class with St. John Ambulance, he thought he’d be learning to give CPR, not be on the receiving end.

Morris was taking a first-aid class at the Cowichan Valley Training Centre in downtown Duncan earlier this month when he went into cardiac arrest.

Morris said all he remembers is sitting in a chair in the first-aid training room and blacking out.

He said he didn’t regain consciousness until he was in the hospital.

Fortunately his instructor in the class was Paul McCoy, who is also a trained first responder with the St. John Ambulance Brigade.

Morris was non-responsive and not breathing, so the first thing McCoy did was start CPR.

James Sarkany of Victoria, immediately began giving chest compressions.

Another student was dispatched to get the automated external defibrillator from the office and the instructor in the classroom next door was sent for.

That instructor was Heather Haskett who brought oxygen and a bag-valve-mask that advanced first aiders are trained to use.

The three rescuers worked as a team giving CPR, providing oxygen and connecting the AED.

Morris was shocked three times before the paramedics arrived, and they shocked him six more times before racing him to the hospital.

Morris survived the ordeal and is now home and back at work.

“I was extremely fortunate because it’s likely I would not be talking to you now without the help of these people,”said Morris, who had never had a heart problem before.

“I could have been alone at the time or, even worse, driving down the road so it was unbelievably good luck that it happened where it did. The first-aid people were terrific, as were the staff at the Cowichan District Hospital.”

Morris said a pacemaker has been placed in his heart to help deal with any future problems.

“I work for AFD Petroleum and management had already decided to place an AED machine in all of its eight branches,” he said.

“The company is trying to be proactive and remain ahead of the curve.”

Ann Saele, a spokeswoman for the CVTC, said the incident shows the importance of CPR and first-aid training and having an AED on site, especially in the workplace.

“AEDs save lives, and more businesses and organizations are acquiring them,” she said.

“It is not a requirement for a business to have one but the benefits, and the number of lives saved, are well documented.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

VIDEO: Fires break out in scrap piles at Harmac mill

Nanaimo firefighters got blazes under control in early morning hours Saturday

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Evacuation order issued in Island village due to “risk of falling debris”

Fire continues to threaten town’s only access road

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Most Read