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BC Seniors Games golfer dies in Kamloops a day after collapsing on course
Vigilant work undertaken by a group of people trying to save a woman’s life at Sun Rivers Golf Resort in Kamloops was ultimately done in vain.
A Vancouver Island woman golfing in the 70- to 74-year-old division at the BC Seniors Games collapsed on the 16th tee on Thursday, Aug. 22.
“We got a phone call saying, ‘Send out the first-aid attendant,’ who we had on as a volunteer as part of the Games, sitting right outside the pro-shop door,” said Michael Chmilar, head pro at Sun Rivers.
“They went out. We got a phone call minutes later saying, ‘Call an ambulance. The person has stopped breathing.’”
Chmilar and another staff member rushed out to the 16th hole with an automated external defibrillator (AED).
When they arrived, they found the first-aid attendant and another golfer performing CPR.
“I subbed in just to give the one person a break for a little bit,” said Chmilar, who has first-aid training.
“Then my assistant ran back to the road to guide the ambulance down the cart path.
“We had the AED on the lady and it said ‘No shock required,’ so we kept on doing CPR.
“I can’t believe how quick the ambulance showed up. Were they just waiting for this call a block down the street? They were out there so quick.”
The ambulance crew took over.
Chmilar said the woman received CPR on the course for about 30 minutes.
One of the ambulance crew members told Chmilar before heading to Royal Inland Hospital there was not much more that could be done.
“I may have jumped to a conclusion, like ‘Well, that’s probably it. She’s done.’
“I think all of us were led to believe that,” Chmilar said.
“An hour and a half later, someone from the ambulance crew came back and said that she was alive.
“They had put a pacemaker in her, but they didn’t know what the status would be because things could change instantly.”
The Games volunteer staff, first-aid attendant and the Sun Rivers employees who helped went to bed Thursday night believing they might have played a part in saving a woman’s life.
“On Friday, we were told she was no longer with us,” Chmilar said.
“From my understanding, the lady that passed away, her daughter or daughters were actually in town and they were looking for the other lady that performed CPR, just to say thank you for putting the effort in that you did because it basically gave her one more day.”
Sun Rivers ensures its supervisors and managers have first-aid training, Chmilar said.
Kamloops Games president Charlie Bruce was asked about the situation on Monday, Aug. 26.
“We had an incident that was dealt with very professionally and very expediently by our medical staff,” Bruce said.
“She had a heart issue.”
The reality is the chances of incidents like this occurring rise during an event like the Seniors Games.
“I don’t want to sound derogatory, but we had five, six, seven people that were 80-plus years of age out there golfing,” Chmilar said.
“It’s not like it’s a bunch of young bucks running around out there.
“The feedback that I have got is that we were very quick to respond.”