By Sue Tiffin
What started out as a typical Friday morning on the green last week resulted in a life saved.
At around 8:30 a.m. on June 10, staff at the Blairhampton Golf Club were preparing for tee-off time when a member of the Minden golf club walked up the hill from the parking lot and told Jake Fowell, a marshal on the course, that he was feeling dizzy and unwell.
Fowell ensured the member, a resident of Canning Lake, sat down in a golf cart, and offered to call 911, all the while assessing his pulse and pallor. The member insisted he would be fine and said he was going to go golfing, but a moment later had slumped over and began to get red in the face.
Quick-thinking Blairhampton Golf Club staff, as well as the club member’s friend, jumped into action. John Wilson, another marshal, called 911 before beginning compressions to administer CPR.
Connor Doidge, a 19-year-old Toronto resident who spends his summers on Kashagawigamog Lake, has worked in the Pro Shop at the club for the past four summers. He gave the club’s address to Wilson to relay to the 911 operator, and acting “independently and proactively,” according to colleague Rich Boyne, brought the emergency defibrillator outside.
“That was the first thing I did, and grabbed the [automated external defibrillator] device,” said Doidge. “I guess it just clicked in my brain, once I knew 911 was called, that that device is the next best thing, so that’s what we grabbed.”
Doidge, Fowell and Wilson opened the AED machine, applied the pads, and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation with direction from the 911 operator.
“John worked tirelessly as he applied CPR,” recalled Boyne. “On more than one occasion over this 20 plus minute time period, others asked if they could relieve him. John indicated that he was fine and continued compressions until EMT took over CPR.”
Doidge said when he first saw him, the club member was unresponsive with eyes closed.
“It was pretty emotional because he comes here quite often, he golfs three times a week so everyone knows him quite well,” said Doidge. “It was a little scary knowing that it was someone you know pretty well compared to a [stranger], but once he got shocked by the AED he was breathing … so that was a little bit relieving that he was kind of breathing. He wasn’t awake or anything, but knowing he was breathing, and just doing CPR was helping, made it a lot better.”
The club member was air transferred to Peterborough hospital where, as of June 13, Boyne said he was recouping and improving daily.
“After [he] was transferred into ambulance and EMT were ready to transport, one of the paramedics came out of the ambulance and said clearly that this group’s immediate actions saved [his] life,” said Boyne.
Doidge and his colleagues have received CPR training.
“When the medical attention came and the ambulance came, I did feel better about it,” he said. “I was hoping he would be OK, and knowing he was still breathing and he was cared for at that time, I did feel hopeful that he would survive. I was feeling a little bit better about the situation.”
Doidge remembered when, earlier in the year, John Collie, a Soyers Lake seasonal resident who owns Rescue 7, a company that supports emergency training and emergency response products, had put new batteries in the AED and reminded him of its location.
Collie said Rescue 7’s clients include Air Canada, GoodLife Fitness, Walmart, Seneca College and Ontario Junior Hockey.
“Although, many companies purchase AEDs, we are trying to educate cottagers and home owners that they should have one – just like a fire extinguisher and first aid kits,” Collie told the Times. “In a cardiac arrest, for every minute the person is not defibrillated, their chance of survival decreases by 10 per cent. So, at 10 minutes, the person is dead.”
Sandy Prozak, Blairhampton Golf Club owner, said the device has been in place at the club for about a decade, and has been used twice – once last year, and once last week. She credits her staff and the device for helping to save the man.
“It’s very emotional when it happens, with everybody and the staff,” she said. “Knowing we saved his life is wonderful.”