Kirk Pitaoulis, Unit Chef for Revelstoke Ambulance Service presents the awards to Bob Shafto (middle) and Eriks Suchovs (right) last week for preforming CPR on a stranger.

‘I will be forever grateful’: Revelstoke residents honoured for saving man’s life

Chances for surviving cardiac arrest decreases 10 per cent every minute CPR is not administered

BC Emergency Health Services honoured four Revelstoke residents last week for performing CPR on a stranger and potentially saving his life.

“If more people acted like you, deaths for cardiac arrest could drop significantly,” said Kirk Pitaoulis, unit chief for Revelstoke Ambulance Service.

The awards went to Eriks Suchovs, Bob Shafto, David Scott and David Sproule. All four are ski guides at Selkirk Tangiers Helicopter Skiing.

In January 2017, during dinner at the Hillcrest Hotel, a man collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. The four ski guides started CPR, secured and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) until first responders arrived.

“This shows first aid works,” said Nitzan Tzuella, who teaches first aid courses in Revelstoke at the Okanagan College.

“This had a really happy ending. We’re stoked,” Kirk Pitaoulis, Unit Chef for Revelstoke Ambulance Service. Bob Shafto (middle) and Eriks Suchovs (right) both received an award last week for preforming CPR on a stranger.
“If you guys weren’t there, the outcome may not have been positive,” said Pitaoulis.

Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of blood flow from the heart failing to effectively pump. By comparison, a heart attack is when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. Basically, cardiac arrest is electrical problems and a heart attack is plumbing problems.

READ MORE: Revelstoke man honoured for saving friend’s life

According to BC Emergency Health Services, the chances of a victim surviving decreases 10 per cent every minute CPR is not administered.

Tzuella taught the four guides a first aid course a few weeks before the incident. In the course, the guides went through scenarios and hypothetically decided who would do what in an emergency.

Three weeks later, the four guides got to use what they learned and worked together as a team.

Tzuella said she uses this story as an example in her first aid course, proving CPR can have a happy ending.

“Stories like this drives me to teach more and more.”

According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, only one out of ten people survive cardiac arrests happen out of hospital. Survival doubles with “immediate action”.

Pitaoulis said learning CPR may seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be.

“It can be done by anyone trained or by instruction.”

He said apps like PulsePoint can be extremely helpful in saving lives. The app can be downloaded onto phones, which allows users to view and receive alerts on calls being responded to by fire departments and emergency medical services.

PulsePoint’s purpose is to increase the chances for a victim in cardiac arrest to receive CPR sooner.

READ MORE: B.C. 911 call-taker gets rare glimpse of what happened after call

CPR aids in maintaining vital blood flow to the brain and heart.

The award ceremony was at the local ambulance station. Two of the recipients, Suchovs and Shafto, the patient, who did not want to be named and Tzuella attended.

“That night I reached the end of the line. My life was over, but it wasn’t,” said the patient. After the second shock from the AED, the patient was revived.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you,” he continued, directly addressing his rescuers. His voice cracked with emotion.

He said the hospital was never able to discover what caused the cardiac arrest.

“No-one will ever know what triggered it.”

He continued that he’s been given a second chance at life.

“I will be forever grateful.”

The Vital Link Award is presented to citizens who are involved in saving a life through successful CPR efforts.


 

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