Quick-thinking Bystanders and AED Registry Save Martial Artist’s Life


January 25, 2017—A 51-year-old Ottawa man’s life was saved this fall thanks to the decisive actions of a group of bystanders and an innovative AED registry system.

While competing for his second-degree black belt at the Black Belt Excellence Martial Arts studio in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa, the father of two collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest. Sparring partner Robert Pizzuto recalled, “I noticed his earlobe turning blue, and I realized he’s not breathing anymore. So I turned him on his back and started the compressions.”

While Pizzuto administered CPR, another bystander called 911. Because the city of Ottawa maintains a database registry of AEDs accessible to the public, when an emergency call comes in, the paramedic communications officer on the other end can quickly identify the location of the nearest available defibrillator. In this case, that officer was Evan Gagnon, who was able to let the caller know there was an AED at a community center across the street. Gagon recalls, “I hadn’t even finished the sentence when they said ‘Okay, we have someone going.’”

The AED Plus® automated external defibrillator was quickly brought to the studio and used to deliver a life-saving shock. The victim had a pulse and had regained consciousness before the paramedics arrived.

The ability to access an AED quickly was key to the victim’s survival. Steven Leu, superintendent of the paramedic team, said “For every minute that goes on without CPR or early defibrillation, you lose 7 to 10% of your chances of survival.” In this case, however, according to Leu, “this is a fantastic news story because everything worked the way it was supposed to work. This is the way the system is supposed to work.”

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