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Survivors thank the Northumberland County first responders who saved them at Cobourg event

By PETE FISHER, Northumberland Today

COBOURG - Northumberland County's first responders were honoured at an annual Survivor's Day event at the Cobourg Lions Community Centre on Tuesday evening.

Fourteen stories were told in front of the emergency responders, their families and the families of the survivors during the evening.

"Our first responders are responsible for the protection and preservation of life in the early stages of an emergency," stated County Warden Mark Walas.

"In our times of greatest need, we often find ourselves relying on their skills, professionalism and compassion."

Each recipient received certificate, known as a Lightning Bolt Award and were congratulated by dignitaries including Northumberland County Paramedics Chief Bill Detlor and numerous fire chiefs from across the County.

The Survivor Day event is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the vital importance of CPR training among the general public.

Seventy-five-year-old Gerald Brown spoke to Northumberland Today and said he remembers everything about the day he was successfully defibrillated on June 3, 2016.

"I was taking a load to the dump in Bewdley and we got to the 7th Line and my shoulder started to hurt. My shoulder started hurting and my arm so I pulled over."

His grandson was riding with him and Brown told him to call his daughter to bring his nitro medication from the tow shop he owns in his car.

"She was on her way and Zachary phoned 911 for me and I went to lay down and he said 'you're not going to lay down Grampa.' I said 'why not?' and he said, 'because the girl on the 911 said to make him sit up.'

Brown listened to his grandson and soon after the emergency services arrived on scene.

In 1966 Brown and a friend were blown out of a boat on Rice Lake and members of the Bewdley Fire Department rescued them, so he knew he was in good hands when emergency services arrived.

Shortly after being placed in the ambulance by firefighters and paramedics the discussion was whether to take him to Peterborough or Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg.

"When I woke up the paramedic said you've just made up our mind up, we're going to Peterborough."

Brown said the event on Tuesday was amazing and it was the first time seeing emergency responders.

"How else can you say thank you to someone who saved your life?"

It's not the first time Brown has been defibrillated. Three years ago he suffered a heart attack at the hospital in Cobourg, once in the ambulance, and later when he was in Peterborough hospital.

"I know paramedics do a great job, I've seen it," he said referring to his time as a tow truck operator.

"Make sure they get credit for what they did," Brown told this reporter. "It's important to me."

Northumberland County CAO Jennifer Moore said the event was a wonderful opportunity to focus on the full circle of pre-hospital care.

"From the supportive bystanders who jump into action, to the teamwork among responding emergency services personnel - in making the ultimate difference in someone's life," she said.



  • On the evening of April 2, 2015, a 72-year-old female suffered cardiac arrest in the emergency room during carer transfer between hospital staff and paramedics. A defibrillation shock was administered, and the patient's pulse was restored for the remainder of care transfer and transport to the Peterborough Regional Healthcare Center.
  • In the late morning of May 30, 2015, Lisa Pulver began experiencing cardiac symptoms, feeling pressure in her chest and shortness of breath. Paramedics and the Brighton District Fire Department responded to the 911 call. After assessing Pulver on scene, it was quickly determined that she was likely suffering a heart attack, and the team initiated movement to the ambulance and transfer to the hospital. Once loaded into the back of the ambulance, Pulver experienced cardiac arrest. This was quickly recognized by the attending paramedics and CPR was started immediately. One successful shock was delivered and her heart rhythm returned back to normal.
  • Transport was reinitiated to Trenton Memorial Hospital where Pulver was stabilized then rerouted to the cardiac catheter lab in Kingston where she underwent a successful surgery.
  • During the morning of February 25, 2016, paramedics and hospital staff resuscitated a 66-year-old male in the emergency room at Northumberland Hills Hospital after preparing him for transport to Peterborough Regional Healthcare Center.
  • During the late evening of March 19, 2016 John Jouwstra was sitting at home watching television with his wife. Earlier that evening he had complained to his wife that he felt like he was getting a cold. Just before the midnight hour, Jouwstra's wife, Jennifer, witnessed him go unresponsive and immediately called 911 before starting CPR. Her neighbour, a volunteer firefighter for Trent Hills, was sitting at home when his pager went off. Immediately recognizing the address he quickly got himself next door and assisted Jouwstra with CPR until his colleagues from the Trent Hills Fire Department and Northumberland Paramedics arrived. Upon the teams' arrival, Jouwstra was defibrillated twice before regaining a slow breathing rate and weak pulse. Care and transport to the hospital were initiated promptly at that time. During transport, Jouwstra again went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics administered a third shock, reverting this condition, and continued CPR. This proved to be successful, with Jouwstra's pulse returning and remaining.
  • During the afternoon of October 19, 20167 a 53-year-old male arrested while walking along a sidewalk in Cobourg. Bystanders quickly came to his aide, starting CPR and calling 911. Upon their arrival at the scene, paramedics administered multiple defibrillation shocks, as did hospital staff upon his transfer to their care, before this individual was stabilized and transferred to Peterborough by the same crew for further cardiac care.
  • On October 27, 2916, an 83-year-old female went into cardiac arrest in her home. Her husband witnessed the arrest and called 911 immediately. Cobourg Fire Department arrived first, initiating CPR and apply the Automated External Defibrillator (or AED). One shock was delivered before paramedics arrived, who then administered three more shocks as well as advanced cardiac life support measures. This individual regained her pulse.
  • On November 14, 2016 a woman witnessed her 90-year-old husband suffering a cardiac arrest. Paramedics and the Trent Hills Fire Department responded to their home and initiated CPR and advanced cardiac life support care.
  • On May 19, 2016 paramedics and the Port Hope Fire Department successfully resuscitated an 81-year-old male from cardiac arrest using CPR and advanced cardiac resuscitation medications.
  • While traveling in the westbound lanes of Highway 401 on June 12, 2016 Karen Begbie was a passenger in the car when she experienced a sudden cardiac arrest. She was accompanied by family members that were traveling home with her from their weekend vacation. Recognizing that something was wrong, the family pulled over and while one family member started CPR the others started to flag down other commuters to help. It could be considered fate that two off-duty paramedics, a nurse and one fire chief from neighbouring regions were among the group of bystanders that responded to this cry for help. Although not all travelling together, these off-duty responders just happened to be following Begbie's car that day. CPR was continued until paramedics and Brighton Fire Department arrived. Begbie was given one-shock, which was enough to change her heart rhythm back to normal and produced a pulse. This was sustained until paramedics transferred care to the staff in Trenton Memorial hospital.
  • On November 28, 2016 an 86-year-old male went into cardiac arrest while at home with his wife. She started CPR right away and called 911. Trent Hills Fire Department arrived first, delivering one shock and their AED before paramedics arrived. Further advanced cardiac life support was undertaken, and together the team resuscitated this man and brought him to Campbellford Hospital.
  • On June 13, 2016 a 74-year-old female was resuscitated in her home. Her daughter and neighbours had quickly recognized the medical emergency that evening and called 911. First responders arrived and provided CPR and advanced cardiac life support medications.
  • In the early morning of June 26, 2016 paramedics and the Cobourg Fire Department responded to a retirement home to attend to a 79-year-old female's aide for general weakness. She went into cardiac arrest while in their care, yet the team kept her pulse, ultimately transferring her care to hospital staff.
  • On July 29, 2016 a 60-year-old female was successfully resuscitated in her home. Her daughter had recognized the medical emergency, called 911 and initiated CPR until paramedics and the Cobourg Fire Department arrived when defibrillation was delivered, regaining her pulse.