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Home About SAIT News & Events Restarting a stopped heart

Restarting a stopped heart

When a student passed out on campus, Jay Altura, Invigilator for the SAIT testing centre, took quickly to her side.

When the student — a distance learner who wishes to remain unnamed — stopped breathing, Altura's mind raced to the training he received through SAIT just eight days earlier.

"I thought this is probably a good thing to have, right?" says Altura about his decision to join several of his colleagues in lifesaving training with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "I never thought I was going to use it — not that soon anyway."

The woman's pulse stopped and Altura called for the Automated External Defibrillator machine and began CPR even though his right arm was still healing in a cast from a bad break two months prior. Altura says the adrenalin of the moment kept any pain far from his mind as he worked to get the student's heart beating once again.

Helping hands

Vicki Miller, Learning Strategist and Academic Coach at the Lamb Learner Success Centre, arrived at the scene shortly after Altura initiated CPR and kneeled across from him to count compressions and help in any way she could.

Miller had attended the recent Lifesaving course along with Altura despite having taken similar training in the past.

"Because the training was so fresh, I felt empowered to be a support to a critical situation," says Miller.

Happy ending

Altura performed CPR on the student for several minutes before the paramedics arrived and took over. Thanks to Altura's fast action, the student gained consciousness before she was taken away to hospital.

"I was so relieved she was OK," says Altura. "Now it's something I'm actually really proud of — that I was able to do that."

Miller says the recent CPR training was an asset to how the situation was handled.

"Jay did such a great job," says Miller. "We were scared in the moment, and we panicked, but because we had that skill set to turn to, we didn't keep panicking."

The Lifesaver Award

Dr. Allen Billy, Dean of the School of Health and Public Safety, says members of the SAIT community save lives more often than you may think, so he's set out to create a SAIT Lifesaver Award.

Learn more about SAIT's CPR and first aid training courses."We hear regularly at SAIT that someone who has taken lifesaver training has used it," says Billy. "We want to offer some small token of appreciation."

Details surrounding the award are still being worked out, but Billy says all members of the SAIT community will be eligible.

"The award is to reinforce a culture where people step up in stressful and scary situations," says Billy. "Jay intervened and did the right thing. He brought someone back from a critical situation — that's really special."

SAIT offers a number of CPR and first aid training courses in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Alberta Workplace Health and Safety.


May 1, 2015


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