TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Dwayne Harrison, 23, is alive today. For
that he thanks the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and Toronto
Emergency Medical Services' Cardiac Safe City Public Access
Defibrillator Program, and a fast-acting City of Toronto Parks,
Forestry and Recreation worker as well as Toronto EMS paramedics and
emergency medical dispatchers.
Harrison, a member of the George Brown College Huskies men's basketball
team, was playing a pickup game at Lawrence Heights Community Centre in
North York on August 29 at about 8:45 p.m. when he collapsed from a
sudden cardiac arrest. Tonight, at 8 p.m., courtside in George Brown
College's King Street East gymnasium, Harrison met and thanked his
rescuers for the first time since the incident. Dwayne Harrison
Recognition Night was organized by Harrison's coach, Jonathan Smith.
Harrison thanked Ted Rennie, the Toronto Parks, Forestry and
Recreation custodian who called 911 for paramedic assistance. Thanks to
Rennie's training - provided as part of Toronto EMS's Safe City program
- and the help of a bystander, he was able to start cardiopulmonary
resuscitation and retrieve the centre's automated external
defibrillator (AED) to deliver two life-saving shocks.
Rennie was assisted over the phone by Toronto EMS emergency medical
dispatcher Rocky Ruffolo and later by Toronto EMS paramedics Jose
Araujo and Kyle Romany, who provided further care at the scene and
during the transport to Sunnybrook Hospital's cardiac care centre.
Harrison commented, "Every morning, every day it hits me. I think of
what happened and how people - friends and strangers - did things to
keep me alive."
"Although AEDs are simple for any bystander to use, in this case the
employees were trained as part of our Cardiac Safe City Program," said
Gayle Pollock, Toronto EMS Commander, Safe City. "With their training
and willingness to help, they started the chain of events to make this
a success story."
According to Pollock, "It requires a complete team effort to save a
life, including a bystander willing to help, an emergency medical
dispatcher ready to assist with instructions over the phone, paramedics
with advanced care medical support, and the continued care emergency
room with cardiac staff and physicians."
The placement of the AED and training of the staff were the result of
the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Resuscitation Program and the Heart &
Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund and the partnership with the
Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe City Public Access Defibrillator Program,
which has helped place 257 AEDs in public venues across Toronto.
Toronto EMS's program now has a total of almost 1,400 AEDs across
"This life saved is a testament to what happens when community members
learn CPR and use an AED when it is within reach," said Andrew Lotto,
Manager of Resuscitation Programs, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "With
continued support of the public, community groups and funding partners,
one day AEDs will be as commonplace as fire extinguishers in Ontario to
Harrison's save is the eighth of nine so far this year as a result of
bystander CPR using a Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe City AED, and it's the
54th save in Ontario through the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Resuscitation
Research shows that up to 85 per cent of cardiac arrests occur at home
or in public places and almost half are witnessed by a family member or
friend. 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. The use of an AED along with CPR before the
arrival of Emergency Medical Services can increase the chance of
survival by up to 75 per cent.
More information about the Heart and Stroke Foundation Resuscitation
Program and the Heart & Stroke Chase McEachern Tribute Fund is
available at www.resuscitation.heartandstroke.ca.
More information about Toronto EMS's Cardiac Safe City Program is
available at http://www.torontoems.ca/main-site/careers/first-aid-cpr.html and http://www.cardiacsafecity.org/.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation's mission is to prevent disease, save
lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive
to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day.
Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make
it happen. Heartandstroke.ca
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's
government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence,
creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size
and cost of government and building a transportation city. For
information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto
residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days
SOURCE: City of Toronto
For further information:
Kim McKinnon, Toronto Emergency Medical Services, 416-392-2255, Kmckinn2@toronto.ca
Alex Maheux, Heart and Stroke Foundation, 416-489-7111 ext. 789, firstname.lastname@example.org