Health Care :: Heroes honoured for life-saving efforts, BC

The British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) is celebrating Paramedic Appreciation Week by presenting awards to three Lower Mainland residents who performed life-saving bystander CPR to victims of cardiac arrest.

The quick action of the following honourees was instrumental in achieving positive patient outcomes in three separate instances:

Cynthia Cox performed CPR on her seven-year-old granddaughter Emily Cox, who suffered a cardiac arrest after she accidentally placed a metal object into an electrical outlet at their home in Surrey on July 11, 2006. Mrs. Cox was assisted by a BCAS emergency medical dispatcher who provided CPR instructions over the telephone.

Vernon Pahl performed CPR on fellow Vancouver Sun Run participant Robert Curtis, of North Vancouver, near BC Place Stadium after he suffered a cardiac arrest on April 15, 2007. Mr. Pahl, of West Vancouver, used the skills he had recently learned in a CPR course to administer care.

Nadine Thompson performed CPR on her husband Steven Thompson after he suffered a cardiac arrest in the early morning hours of March 12, 2007 at their home in Langley. She was assisted by a BCAS emergency medical dispatcher who provided direction over the telephone.

?Congratulations to the award recipients for their quick thinking that undoubtedly helped save lives,? said Health Minister George Abbott. ?Learning CPR can truly provide the gift of life as we have seen with these award recipients, and I would encourage all British Columbians to learn this important skill.?

Even with the best technology, medical expertise and timely deployment of first responders, the best chance for someone in cardiac arrest is still to have a bystander perform CPR until paramedics can provide professional CPR, defibrillation and quick transport to hospital. It is estimated that only approximately 15 per cent of British Columbians know how to perform CPR.

Cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death and accounts for more than one-fifth of all deaths in B.C. A cardiac arrest victim is four times more likely to survive if CPR is administered while waiting for further medical care.

Paramedic Appreciation Week takes place from July 1-7, 2007.

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