Community Papers

Quick action saves life

Jeannie Duncan suffered sudden cardiac arrest due to a fatal heart rhythm but, thankfully, two anesthesiologists and two registered nurses saved her life.

Alistair and Debbie Duncan (no relation to Jeanie), along with friends David and Gail Kennedy, were enjoying a round at the Vernon Golf and Country Club on May 16 when a cart came speeding up to them from the seventh hole. The panicked occupant – Jeannie’s husband – told them she had collapsed, was not breathing and needed immediate attention.

The foursome took turns administering CPR for almost 15 minutes, keeping her blood flowing while waiting for the fire truck to arrive with the defibrillator.

Paramedics immediately shocked her heart back to life with two jolts from an automatic external defibrillator, without which she would have died.

“They were amazing. They saved my life,” said Jeannie Duncan of the Kennedys and Duncans.

Up to 2,000 British Columbians die each year from sudden cardiac arrest – of which 75 per cent could be saved if they receive prompt access to CPR or a jolt from an automated external defibrillator, which is used to identify cardiac rhythms and deliver a shock to correct abnormal electrical activity in the heart.

As a result of the incident, the Vernon Golf and Country Club has purchased an automated external defibrillator.

“One of the biggest contributing factors in our decision-making process is that the average age of our members and guests are in their 60s. It is our responsibility to take care of them”, said Brent Barker, VGCC chairperson.

“We are thankful anesthesiologists and registered nurses were there and recognized what was going on. Dr. Duncan recognized the need for us to address this issue and had the foresight to advise us of what steps we needed to take to rectify the situation.”

Jeannie Duncan welcomes the actions taken by the VGCC.

“The more statistics I read about sudden cardiac arrest, I realize that automated external defibrillators are a must to save lives,” she said.

“For every minute delay the survival rate of a sudden cardiac arrest victim decreases by seven to 10 per cent.”

The provincial government recently announced it will spend an additional $1 million to expand the number of defibrillators to 750 in parks, arenas and recreation centres across the province.

There are currently 175 external defibrillators in 82 B.C. communities.


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