Pitt Meadows Arena. (THE NEWS/files)

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Players in an oldtimer’s hockey league assisted in saving a teammate’s life last week after he suffered a heart attack in one of the dressing rooms at Pitt Meadows Arena Complex, performing CPR and rushing to find a second defibrillator after discovering the batteries in the first one were dead.

The incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, according to arena staff.

The man had just finished playing a game in the Pitt Meadows Oldtimers Hockey league, when he went into cardiac arrest after entering the dressing room.

Members of his team, the Tri-City Chiefs, immediatley began CPR. But when he failed to respond, they raced for an automated external defibrillator, located in the Volkswagen rink, in the middle of the facility.

However, the defibrillator was not working. Teammates then raced to a second defibrillator, located in the Chrysler Arena, next to Volkswagen.

An engineer with the facility who was cleaning an empty dressing room noticed that the defibrillator in the Volkswagen rink was missing and also rushed to help.

The engineer provided CPR while a teammate worked the second defibrillator until paramedics and Pitt Meadows firefighters arrived.

Previously, defibrillators at the arena were checked once a month. But from now on, they will be checked weekly, said Scott Mosby, acting general manager of Pitt Meadows Arena.

“There was a failure in the actual unit. What it was, that I can’t speak to. But when that happens, they apparently draw more power from the batteries,” Mosby added.

“The time frame between when it was last checked and this time, the batteries had died.”

There are four defibrillators in the facility. There is one in each rink, located half way down the length of the ice in Chrysler and Volkswagen rinks, outside the dressing rooms.

In the Fiat rink, the defibrillator is located just to the east side of the dressing rooms.

There is one also located in the main lobby.

Mosby wants to thank those involved in saving the man’s life.

“Nustadia [the company that operates Pitt Meadows Arena] and the City of Pitt Meadows take public safety extremely seriously,” said Mosby.

“CPR, combined with the administration of the AED by fellow teammates, and opposing teammates, along with the facility staff played a critical role in saving this man’s life,” he added.

The man was breathing when he was taken by ambulance from the facility that night.

As of Friday, Mosby understood, the man was still in hospital, but expected to make a full recovery.

To help save lives, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of British Columbia makes Automated External Defibrillators available in public places where there is a risk someone can suffer a cardiac arrest.

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