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April 8, 2011

Quick thinking, AED saves Canadian hockey player

Ancaster News

ONTARIO, Canada — On Sunday, April 3, a hockey goalie made a save of a different kind at J.L. Grightmire arena in Dundas.

A 54-year-old player complained that he was "feeling really tired" and collapsed onto his teammate's shoulder during their regular Sunday night pick-up hockey game.

When it became apparent that he was without a pulse, bystanders immediately called 911 and started CPR. One of the goalies, an off-duty volunteer firefighter from Caledonia, retrieved the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The man responded to treatment and regained a pulse after one shock was delivered.

"Once again, the prompt action of bystanders and other rescuers trained in CPR and AED use, combined with the sophisticated emergency medical care delivered by paramedics, gave this patient the best chance for survival and a full recovery," said Brent Browett, director of the Hamilton Paramedic Service.

"This event highlights that anyone in the community can save a life with simple training in CPR. The chances of survival are increased further with the public's willingness to use one of the Public Access Defibrillators that we have placed in key public facilities throughout the city."

Hamilton paramedics arrived to find the patient conscious and talking. Paramedics continued to treat and stabilize him before transporting him to McMaster Hospital. At the hospital, the patient joked with paramedics that "maybe it was time to retire from hockey and start to play golf!"

The man was later transferred to Hamilton General Hospital's heart investigation unit. He is currently in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

The placement of the AED and training of the arena staff were the result of the Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, a Life program and the Heart&Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund.

These programs have been made possible by contributions from the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, The Cowan Foundation, as well as the Foundation's partnership with the Hamilton Public Access Defibrillator Program.

In Ontario alone, about 7,000 cardiac arrests occur every year. The survival rate of victims for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is less than five per cent.

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However, CPR with the use of an AED before the arrival of Emergency Medical Services can increase the chance of survival by up to 75 per cent.