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AEDs save three lives in three weeks

Automated External Defibrillators were key to saving lives in three separate incidents of cardiac arrest over the past three weeks, according to Medavie Ambulance West Director of Public Affairs Troy Davies.

“They say good luck comes in threes, but in this case luck had nothing to do with it,” said Davies in a news release issued Wednesday June 12. “Three lives were saved in the last three weeks thanks to owners who purchased AEDs for their businesses and are a part of the Saskatoon Heart Safe Program.”

Davies said the businesses also ensured their employees knew where the machines were located and how to apply it.

The first cardiac arrest occurred May 12 at 2:50 p.m. when Medavie Ambulance paramedics responded to 69- year-old male, Dwight Wittal from Martensville.

“Dwight was driving at low speeds in Martensville when he went into cardiac arrest,” said Davies. “Luckily this occurred in front of a local business, Wrench Fitness.

“The owner of the business and a patron came to Dwight’s aid with an AED and shocked him once. Dwight was released from hospital and states his only complaint is sore ribs from the CPR, Dwight agreed to release his name to the media as he wants to get the message out to the public that AEDs save lives.”

The second cardiac arrest occurred May 24 at 1:17 p.m. when paramedics responded to a 79-year-old male playing basketball at Zion Lutheran Church located in Saskatoon. The male patient was shocked once on scene by the AED and brought back to life. The 79- year-old man is currently recovering at RUH, said Davies.

The third cardiac arrest occurred June 8 at 8:57 p.m. at the Nutana Legion located in Saskatoon. A 74-year-old male was attending a wedding and collapsed while dancing, the staff at the Legion immediately applied the AED on site and shocked the patient once. The patient was awake and talking when paramedics arrived on scene and is currently recovering at RUH.

“We have had a tremendous amount of success with our Heart Safe Program,” said Davies. “We currently have over 1000 businesses who are registered, and have saved 33 lives, which is the most in North America.”

Davies said the patients range in age from 34 to 79 years. The locations where residents have been saved include: Jemini and Schroh arenas, Holiday Park Golf Course, Saskatoon Airport, Lakewood Civic Centre, Holy Cross School, Saskatoon Golf and Country Club, TCU Place and Costco.

“We feel that AEDs are like fire extinguishers,”said Davies. “They should be in every building, as cardiac arrests can occur at any time in any place.”

Corporate sponsorships allow Medavie Ambulance to visit every Heart Safe site to ensure the batteries in the AED are charged and the electrodes have not expired.

“The bottom line is 33 people have been brought back to life and are back with their loved ones and that’s really all that matters,” said Davies.

Businesses with an AED can register at www.saskatoonheartsafe.com or call 306-374-SAFE.

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