At the June 21 City of Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Recruitment Ceremony, the focus shifted briefly from 11 new recruits to a group of citizens present at an emergency in Cambray. When Ronald Goodhand collapsed from a heart attack at the four corners, citizens took action until the paramedics arrived.
Some directed traffic, some communicated with the 911 operator, some notified family, and one started CPR. Goodhand was revived and transported by ambulance to Ross Memorial Hospital.
As the ambulance departed, the good samaritans went their own ways, but the Kawartha Lakes Paramedic service wanted to honour the individuals. With no record of the citizens involved, the service issued a press release looking for the names of the unknown helpers. Between it and a social media blitz, all parties were identified and recognized at the ceremony.
One of the first on the scene was Shane Troyan. Saying he just did what he assumes any person would do in the same situation, he performed CPR on Goodhand, having been certified years ago with a previous employer.
“The training immediately came to the surface,” he recalled about the moments immediately after he found Goodhand.
And it’s fortunate that it did. As noted by one of the two responding paramedics, Bruce MacKay, quality CPR when delivered immediately after a heart stoppage can double the chances of survival. Equally importantly, each minute when CPR is not administered can result in up to a 10% drop in the person’s survival rate.
MacKay was impressed with the way the people worked as a unit to assist and secure the scene, instead of just watching it unfold.
“We arrived on scene, and as we had expected, a moderate crowd of approximately ten people were present with CPR in progress. The crowd that had gathered was calm, they were working together, and they provided accurate and detailed information of what they had been able to attain. Multiple times they were given instructions to find equipment in bags they had never seen, and attach it to equipment they had never used.”
The other on-scene paramedic, Fran Scott, also had high praise for the group, noting that in her more than 20 years of responding to calls with bystanders present, this group stood out above the rest. She specifically pointed out the sense of calm and camaraderie with which they went about helping, adding that
“Many would have – and did – drive by due to fear.”
With members of the Goodhand family present, MacKay summed up the event by saying, “Today we celebrate compassion, we celebrate resilience and teamwork. We celebrate strangers coming together to selflessly help one another in their community. And, most importantly, we celebrate their example of humanity.
The individuals honoured are: Colleen Brandse, Kevin Bell, Shane Troyan, Heather Lively, Patricia Bell, Jack Faulkner, Lynne Johnston and Mary Dowzer-Verbruggen.