A big thank-you to eight who saved lives

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Don Reidie with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Olivia, at Tuesday's awards ceremony. Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist

By Sandra McCulloch

Timescolonist.com

Three people escaped death in 2013 thanks to the swift, selfless actions of eight others — five Victoria police officers, two commissionaires and a doctor — who saved lives using cardiopulmonary respiration.

On Tuesday, those heroes were recognized for their efforts by B.C. Lt.-Gen. Judith Guichon with pins and certificates presented at the St. John Ambulance, Victoria branch.

“These are the stories we want paraded before young people — thank you for your courage to act,” Guichon said at the awards ceremony.

“Thank you for being role models for us all.”

On May 12 last year, Don Reidie and Scott Baxter were working as commissionaires at the Chateau Victoria Hotel when they got word that a guest had collapsed in his room and wasn’t breathing.

Reidie and Baxter began CPR and continued until Victoria police constables David Jorgensen and Jenny Lequesne arrived and took over. All five received lifesaving awards.

“It was my second day on the job — I’d only just finished this training course about two weeks prior,” Reidie, a 49-year-old former truck driver, said after the ceremony.

“It meant the world to me [to save a life], to know I was there to help them.”

Reidie was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife, Liz, and 11-year-old daughter, Olivia.

“I’m really proud of him, he does his job 110 per cent,” Liz said. “I’m not surprised, I’m really not. He always does everything 110 per cent.”

On July 23, Dr. Aaron Childs, 40, was at a restaurant patio in Cook Street Village when he noticed a man across the street had collapsed.

“I rushed across the street to see if there was anything I could do — nobody was quite sure what to do, which is not uncommon,” Childs said.

An off-duty ER nurse stopped and helped Childs with CPR.

“CPR is tiring,” said Childs, a general practitioner. “This was my first time doing CPR outside a facility. It’s a very long time before help arrives.”

On Oct. 13, Victoria police got a report of a person who had collapsed unconscious in the 800 block of Pandora Avenue.

Sgt. Barrie Cockle, a 52-year-old member of the bike patrol, was first at the scene.

“When I got there, she was blue, done, gone,” Cockle said. “[Her friends] were actually picking her up and dropping her on the sidewalk to try to get her breathing again.”

Cockle knew the victim, suspected a drug overdose and immediately started chest compressions. Sgt. Kristi Ross brought an automated defibrillator unit while Const. Clarke Dumont used a bag to push air into her lungs.

“By the time the fire department showed up, she was breathing, but barely,” Cockle said.

B.C. Ambulance paramedics administered medication to address the overdose and the woman recovered.

Cockle said he often does chest compressions on people he encounters through police work, but it’s rare that he gets a response.

“With CPR, you don’t expect the best results, but you got to try.”

Cockle, Ross and Dumont received awards from Guichon.