Arnie Nagy put his first aid skills to use and performed CPR on an unconscious man until first responders arrived to the scene. Photo by Shannon Lough

Bystander performs lifesaving CPR

A Prince Rupert resident witnessed a man in distress and gave him CPR until emergency crews arrived

One resident’s swift actions and first aid training saved a life last week.

In 20 years of being first aid certified, this was the first time Arnie Nagy put his life saving skills to use.

He was driving to work in the maintenance department at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital on Thursday, June 8, when he took a detour from his usual route down Second Avenue and spotted a person lying on the side of the road.

Nagy slowed down and pulled over to see if the man was okay. He saw blood on his head and called 911.

“I saw that the gentleman didn’t have any breath. I checked for a pulse and I knew we were in a life or death situation,” he said.

There were two ladies who stopped to help Nagy roll the man onto his back so he could start performing CPR. While he tried to resuscitate the man, he was on the phone with the 911 operator who assured him the ambulance was en route.

He told the operator that he is a Level 3 first aid attendant, and the dispatcher gave him directions. Nagy continued doing CPR for five to six minutes until the first responders and ambulance drove up.

“I was still doing chest compressions when they put the AED (automated external defibrillators) on him. I was relieved by a fireman and after it was all over the fireman came up and said you just saved a life today,” he said.

Firefighter Marvin Kristoff was at the scene and said they don’t normally come across a bystander performing CPR on the street.

“He increased the success rate a hundredfold,” Kristoff said.

By the time Nagy left work, the medical team at the hospital had stabilized the man. Although he was mentally exhausted from the morning’s events he said he was happy to hear the gentleman was doing okay.

What disturbed Nagy the most was that three vehicles passed by the person who was in distress lying on the side of the road.

“I think what is important is that people in this community should know if they’re ever in that situation, the person on the line on 911 will talk them through it to ensure that person being treated has a chance,” he said.

Twenty years ago, Nagy came across a car accident outside of Quesnel where several people were injured. People on the scene asked if anyone could assist and he felt useless, so he kept driving.

“After that happened when I got back to Rupert I signed up for the first aid course because I never wanted to feel like that again,” he said. Ever since then, he’s maintained his first aid ticket and up until now he hasn’t had to use it.

Nagy doesn’t know the two ladies were who stopped and helped him turn the man over, but they stayed with him until the ambulance arrived.

“I think they deserve a lot of the credit,” he said.

Spokesperson for BC Emergency Health Services, Alex Dabrowski, said that front-line paramedics and dispatchers witness first-hand how bystander CPR can save lives.

“The public can help save a patient’s life by acting quickly when you think someone has suffered a cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is just that – it’s sudden; unassuming and leaves patients unresponsive. These people need help right away,” Dabrowski said.

“If you don’t know or remember what to do in an emergency situation, our highly trained dispatchers can teach you how to care for a patient until paramedics arrive on scene.”

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