It turns out three Good Samaritans stepped in to help a Vancouver man struck by a heart attack in Dunbar June 29.
Accounts of those involved reveal the confusion of the moment, but in addition to two young men, Ryan McCracken and Daniel Good, a woman named Susan Schincariol offered assistance, including CPR.
Gordon McCaw, 60, and his partner Elaine Bougie Gilligan, were driving near 28th Avenue when McCaw had a heart attack in the passenger seat.
Bougie stopped and called 911, but when she was told to lift him out of the car, she couldnt. Passersby McCracken and Good jumped in to help.
McCracken, 23, who learned CPR while training as a lifeguard in high school, tried to talk to McCaw, but got no response. I took his vitals. I checked for a pulse and checked for breathingthere was nothing. So then my friends and I picked him up out of the seat, put him on the grass and put something behind his head, at which point I took his vitals again, recalled McCracken, who asked his 22-year-old friend, Daniel Good, who also knows CPR, to pat down McCaws legs and arms to see if he had any wounds.
I started to do CPR and I continued to do CPR until the fire trucks arrived, McCracken said.
Schincariol, meanwhile, was leaving the nearby Shoppers Drug Mart store with her son when she heard commotion across the parking lot and someone say, CPR.
I ran over and the gentleman was turning blue, she told the Courier. Schincariol, who was unaware McCracken had already been doing CPR, stepped in to provide CPR as welllikely around the time firefighters arrived and before an ambulance came.
I checked, he had no breath, she said. He had nothing going on so I started chest compressionsIm already starting to shake just thinking about it.
Schincariol was also trained in first aid.
I just finished, that day, my classes in the Master of Occupational Therapy program at UBC, so it was a pretty memorable end to the program, she said.
Schincariol recalls paramedics (more likely firefighters, according to other accounts) cutting McCaws shirt off and preparing him for medical interventions, while she continued CPR.
They said were ready to shock him so we all took our hands off and they shocked him and he still needed more compressions, she explained.
One of the firefighters, who Schincariol may have mistaken for a paramedic, took over compressions and she helped out getting oxygen ready.
During the incident, Schincariol recalls hearing Gilligan on the phone with 911 and crying, but Gilligan doesnt recall seeing Schincariol during the confusion.
When Schincariol left the scene, she wasnt sure McCaw would make it.
Im just delighted [he survived], she said after learning his fate in the Courieras did McCracken.
I was quite a relief to know he was OK, he said.
McCaw told the Courier on Friday hes much better after 10 days in the hospital and therapy at G.F. Strong, but he still feels like an elephant walked across my chest.
One of his major arteries was 100 per cent blocked. Doctors performed an angioplasty and inserted a stint. McCaw said one of his priorities is to learn CPR and hes happy to finally know who assisted him.
I was beyond lucky and maybe a little blessed, he said. I dont subscribe to any religion or anything but I dont know how else to put it.
The branch manager for St. John Ambulance at 6111 Cambie St. contacted the Courier and is offering McCaw and Gilligan a free CPR class at that location when hes feeling better.