Heart attack on the hockey bench

Quick response by teammates, rink staff and paramedics

Even if you do poorly or even fail, it’s still a good idea to take a CPR course, says Dr. Doug Kuramoto.

He should know. The naturopathic physician and member of the old timer’s hockey team the Lantzville Seadogs was at Oceanside Place in Parksville on Friday night when the game he was playing in took an unexpected turn.

“My buddy wasn’t looking so good,” he said. “He was cyanotic, his skin was grey and his breathing was gurgly. By the time I was aware something was wrong, he was on the bench, lying down in some distress.”

The player’s eyes were closed and he was unresponsive when Kuramoto tried to rouse him. Regional District of Nanaimo arena superintendent John Marcellus takes up the story.

“He essentially collapsed on the bench and one of the players contacted our maintenance staff and we followed our procedures,” he said. “They used an artificial external defibrillator and did first aid and CPR until Emergency Services took over.”

Kuramoto said initial efforts to revive his friend proved unsuccessful however.

“I started thinking, oh oh, he’s going down,” he said. “I said to the rink attendant, you had better get those guys quick. The rink attendants brought the defibrillator  and we hooked him up to that. I couldn’t feel a pulse on his carotid artery. He was flat-lined. We cleared and, boom, but nothing happened. We went to work again, pounding and doing CPR and chest compressions. I could hear his lungs were filling up with fluid.”

They gave the man another zap and again, nothing.

“Then an ambulance attendant arrived with an oxygen tank and soon I could start to see his colour returning. Five minutes later the fire department got there and as they were wheeling him out, I could see he was looking around, so I thought he was going to be OK.”

Marcellus said the incident goes to show how valuable it is to have a defibrillator on site and to have staff trained in its use. “We’ve been fortunate in the incidents we’ve had,” he said. “There has been a recovery every time we’ve used it.”

Kuramoto said it also highlights the benefits of citizens taking CPR training.

“This made me feel really grateful that something I learned was very much useful,’ he said. “This wasn’t a model of CPR, but we managed to bring him around anyway. I would urge anyone to take a CPR course because even if you boggle it, you could still save a life.”

At last report, the patient was listed in stable condition at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

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