If someone next to you collapsed from a cardiac arrest would you know what to do, or would you remain a bystander?
Stu Pigot knew what to do and as a result was able to save his friends life.
Six years ago, Pigot was out golfing with a couple of others.
As he watched Doug Power get a line on his ball, he saw him fall to his knees and then flat on his face.
He rushed over to his friend, rolled him over and determined he had no pulse.
He handed his cell phone to his other companion and told him to call 911.
“I started CPR right away,” explained Pigot. “It was just an instinctual thing.”
Even though Pigot had received CPR training through his employer, he had never actually used it before. That day on the golf course, he used simple chest compressions on Power.
“What that does is circulate the blood so there is no brain damage,” said Pigot.
During the process, Pigot broke Power’s ribs.
“If you don’t get the compressions deep enough, if you are concerned about hurting someone, you’re not going to keep that heart primed,” he explained.
Earlier in the day, Pigot had taken note of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in the golf shop.
When two other golfers approached, Pigot sent them up to the shop, one to bring back the defibrillator and the other to wait for and direct the ambulance.
Pigot had been performing CPR for approximately 20 minutes before he had the defibrillator in his hands.
“The defibrillator is fairly self-explanatory. It tells you where to put the pads and it tells you whether the heart is ready to be shocked or not. If the heart is not quite ready it tells you to continue CPR,” said Pigot.
“It actually gave Doug a shock and I can remember Doug coming off the ground from that shock. That was about the same time as the ambulance was coming down the 18th fairway. Doug’s heart was beating when the ambulance attendants arrived.”
Doug Power only remembers small glimpses of being in emergency and being transported by air to Vancouver.
“My memory is waking up in St. Paul’s Hospital. I don’t remember the interim,” he said. “I ended up by having by-pass surgery.”
His wife Colleen thinks it was “quite miraculous” that her husband survived without any brain damage.
“I think it is because the CPR was started within seconds, literally,” she said.
“That’s why you want to do CPR. You’re not going to actually revive a person, but you’re going to keep their brain oxygenated until they can be defibrillated.”
Pigot agreed. “If people stand around and wait for an ambulance, you’re not going to get revived. You’re done,” he said.
“It’s the brain dead part of it that’s the worst. People don’t realize how fast that happens. You don’t have that long. You have only minutes.”
“My continued existence is predicated on what Stu did. I wouldn’t be sitting here otherwise, I truly believe that,” said Doug. “We just had a granddaughter who I would never have seen.”
People have asked the Powers what they have done for Pigot in return.
“What do you do for a person who has saved your life?” exclaimed Colleen.
Pigot said it was an honor for him, because it is not often that a person can help a friend in such a meaningful way.
“The gift for me is that Doug is still around,” he said.
“If you can help a stranger that’s fantastic, but if you can help a best friend, it’s very cool.”
The advice from Pigot and the Powers is for people to take a CPR course and to take note of where the AED’s are located in public places.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation has a current campaign on, that encourages people to jump into action and use CPR, telling them that it can’t hurt, it can only help.
They have also launched an app in order to get more people to act, because B.C. has one of the highest bystander rates in the country.
If you would like to learn more in order to change that statistic or to download the free Cardiac Arrest Action App, go to https://callpushrestart.ca/.