Strangers save life of hiker in Cowichan

Hike up Cobble Hill Mountain turns into ambulance ride, surgery

A pleasant hike on Cobble Hill Mountain on Jan. 20 turned into a life-threatening medical emergency for a Cowichan couple.

But, thanks to the intervention of some local residents and the professionalism of local emergency crews, Elaine Scott and her husband, Ian Rogers, are safe at home and wishing to express gratitude to their rescuers.

Scott and Rogers were hiking on the mountain when Rogers became dizzy and wanted to sit for awhile before returning to their car.

Scott said she had walked a little way along the path while Rogers recuperated from his dizzy spell and did not see him collapse.

“A couple met me on the trail and said that they would take me back to my husband who was sitting on the ground,” she said.

“They had retrieved his glasses and tried to help him. When I got back to him he absolutely convinced me that he was just having a dizzy spell and would be fine in a few minutes. Several people passed us and offered help, but Ian refused the help. Two young women walked by with their children and the same thing happened. A few minutes later one of them, Colleen O’Dell, came back, stepped over both of us and said, ‘You are not in charge any longer — I am’.”

Scott said O’Dell called 911 while her friend, Laurie Rodall, went up to the fire gate to direct the emergency vehicles.

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She said the first emergency crews on the scene were the volunteer fire and ambulance teams.

Scott said when the ambulance team, whom she only knows as Marshall and Judy, arrived, Marshall quickly assessed Rogers and made the decision to call for the Advanced Life Support ambulance to attend the scene from Victoria.

“When we were half way down the Malahat with the Advanced Life Support team on board the ambulance, Ian had a major heart attack due to a 100 per cent blockage in one artery,” she said.

“The ambulance team worked on him right away and the team at Jubilee Hospital were waiting for him. He had a heart stent inserted within 20 minutes after we arrived at the emergency department. Marshall took the time to track me down in the hospital to make sure that I was okay. This action on Marshall’s part was very reassuring to me.”

Scott said her husband came through the incident and operation with very little damage to his heart.

O’Dell, a respiratory therapist at Cowichan District Hospital, said she recognized that Rogers was in medical distress when she met him on the trail.

“He didn’t look well and appeared to be in a bit of shock, as was Elaine,” O’Dell said.

“I figured then even if he was OK, there was no way to get him back down the mountain in his condition.”

O’Dell said the speed at which emergency personnel arrived at the scene and their professionalism was “fantastic.”

“Ian was admitted into Cowichan District Hospital after he was released from Royal Jubilee and I visited with him while he was here,” she said.

“The incident was quite emotional for me I’m glad that I was there to help get to where he needed to be to receive medical attention.”

RELATED STORY: HIKERS, DOGS RESCUED FROM VANCOUVER ISLAND MOUNTAIN AMID WINTER STORM

Scott is singing the praises of all involved in the rescue.

“To the couple who met me on the trail and told me there was a problem with my husband, to all of those wonderful people who offered help but were turned down by my husband, to Colleen and Laurie for taking control, calling 911 and directing the emergency crews, to Marshall for making a very important split second decision to call for the Advanced Life Support team, to the fire emergency team and the assistant fire supervisor who were so efficient in getting Ian off the mountain and so helpful to me, to Marshall who drove the ambulance to Victoria and the team in the back who were so calm dealing with the emergency, a great big thank you,” Scott said.

“It goes without saying that the team at the Jubilee were also great, but this is a thank you to the wonderful Cowichan Valley folks who stepped forward and helped so much.”

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