A Whistler man is recovering in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest following a late-night hockey game at Meadow Park Sports Centre last Wednesday (March 13) night.
Ricky Brown was playing in an old timer’s game as part of the Tapley’s Pub team late Wednesday when he began to feel unwell, and left the ice early. Soon after, team members found him in the change room slumped over without a pulse.
“Some of his fellow players found him in there … and somebody ran to get the defibrillator, knew where it was, and they were able to restart his heart,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, who indicated that several of the hockey players on hand were trained as first responders.
Paramedics attended the scene at around 12:30 a.m Thursday (March 14) before the patient was taken to the Whistler Health Care Centre. Brown’s friends have indicated that he is recovering at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and should be released in the coming days.
Wilhelm-Morden extended her thanks to quick-thinking first responders and to Meadow Park staff member Jon Pollard, who had been instrumental in pushing for the installation of automated external defibrillators (AED) at the sports facility. Meadow Park currently has two defibrillators onsite.
“It was the first time that (defibrillator) was ever used,” Wilhelm-Morden said. “It’s quite user-friendly, so they were able to figure out how to use it and effectively saved his life. Everybody worked really well together.”
The municipality is considering adding AED’s at Whistler Olympic Plaza for staff use and at the Lost Lake PassivHaus for public and staff use.
B.C.’s new Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) program, jointly funded by the province and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, will add an additional 450 AED’s for public use throughout British Columbia. Each B.C. municipality, including Whistler, will receive at least one new AED as part of the program.
“It’s a comprehensive program and we’ve done a lot of research to build on the best practices from around the world. We’re partnering with the B.C. Ambulance Service on orienting staff at the different venues that we install the AED’s in,” said Erika Callowhill, director of marketing and communications for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. and Yukon. “We’ll also have an AED registry that’s going to track every AED in the province, so when you call 911 they’ll be able to direct you to the closest AED.”
The Heart and Stroke Foundation sent out surveys to all B.C. municipalities for feedback on preferred sites for the newly installed defibrillators. RMOW staff has not yet responded to the survey, said Callowhill.