[This was written April, 2017.]
"My name is Vincent Bitusus, I am 38 years old.
On Saturday December 3, 2016, the Filipino Basketball League had their season opener tournament at Holy Cross High School. At 2 pm my team played their first game. I am a forward on the team. Three minutes into the game, I was looking for my opponent and my vision started to turn blurry, that is the last thing I remember.
My friends have told me what happened after my last memory. I collapsed on the court and turned blue, my body went rigid, I was foaming at the mouth and my eyes rolled back in my head. Thankfully there were many spectators at the tournament and some of them were trained in 1st aid and CPR as well as AED. Three people assessed my condition, I was not breathing and had no pulse. They started CPR, and did four rounds of breaths and compressions but they could not revive me. The lady leading the rescuers was an off duty nurse, and she called for an AED, thankfully the school had one. They hooked up the AED and the machine instructed them to administer a shock and then another. After the second shock, people said my color came back and I opened my eyes and I began to question what had happened.
An ambulance had been called and Paramedics arrived after I woke up. I was transported to RUH and after four days and many tests, an angiogram found that my main coronary artery was 99% blocked. A stent was put into my heart and the recovery process began.
Thank God for AEDs they saved my life."
[This is written August 2nd, 2014.]
"Canada Day started out like many other vacations spent in the city, with me volunteering an hour at a community booth. I was a bike valet from 11:00 a.m. to noon, watching peoples’ bikes for them. Soon after noon I rode off to find a few minutes of adventure before planning to return home to my girlfriend’s, where we were taking the kids over to a local park to meet another friend and her kids at 1:30.
I found the SaskPower propaganda booth with a game. It was a stationary bike where you could see how much power you could produce on it.
And that’s one way that SaskPower has tried to kill me ;-). As I finished at the top of the leaderboard, and biked off into the distance, I soon was collapsed on a bench near the band stand in Wascana Park. A crowd gathered, and two police officers came up to find me without a pulse and my bike helmet still on. They began CPR and called for a pair of EMTs on bikes who were on the other side of the park.
The EMTs arrived about 10 minutes later and after shocking me twice, my heart was beating again. About 40 minutes and a $325 ambulance ride later, I was in the Emergency Room of the General Hospital. I was scoring a 5 out of 15 on the Glasgow Coma scale in some regard, 8 in others. A 5 can mean that I could need to be tube fed, while 15 would be normal. So I was put onto a cooling blanket and given an immobilizing drug to cool my body down to just 32 degrees Celsius.
My first-hand memories from the next three or four days are few and I barely recognize them as my own experience. A tube coming out of my body that wasn’t there when I woke up and started remembering is one clue. In my defence, I was sedated and intubated for the first two days. Pretty extreme considering I’d not spent a night in hospital since I was born.
I then had an MRI, and various radiating scans on my head and elsewhere to check I was all there. In the coming days I managed to impress the professionals enough for them to let me out in the wild again (but not after tagging me first).
And here I am. Alive. Surprised that I died, and came back to life. Thankful for another chance, whatever that means."
AEDs. What are they?
Q: What does AED stand for?
A: AED stands for “Automated External Defibrillator.” AEDs are used to deliver lifesaving electroshock therapy to someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest. They are designed to be as straight forward and easy to use as possible, to allow non-medically trained people the best chance possible to save a life.
Q: How does it work?
A: Every AED has two pads (called electrodes) connected to the machine that must be placed on a patient’s chest. The AED then analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm to determine if a shock will be needed to save the patient. If it is needed, the AED will instruct the rescuer through the steps necessary to save the person’s life.
Q: What is SCA?
A: SCA stands for “Sudden Cardiac Arrest”. SCA happens when the electrical signals in the heart go into disarray, causing a lack of blood to be pumped to the brain, and the victim to go unconscious. This condition is called “Ventricular Fibrulation”. Over 35,000 deaths per year occur from SCA in Canada. When this happens, the victim only has minutes to be saved. Only defibrillation can stop VF.
Q: What is the difference between SCA and a Heart Attack?
A: While SCA is an electrical problem with the heart, a Heart Attack happens when there is blockage in the aorta. While sometimes difficult to tell the difference, a Heart Attack victim will often maintain consciousness, whereas an SCA victim will most often be unconscious.
More Info About Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)
Where should you expect to find AEDs?
Q: How do I know if I should get an AED?
A: Anyone can fall victim to SCA at any time, regardless of age, gender or lifestyle (although the risk percentage does increase depending on these factors). AEDs are being placed anywhere there are gatherings of people; in the office or factory, events centres, family cottages, golf courses, condo buildings, etc. The ideal placement of an AED is that no matter where someone has SCA, an AED can be retrieved and brought to the victim in 3 minutes or less. Buildings that contain AEDs usually will have a sticker indicating an AED inside, along with some signage directing to where the AED is kept, on a wall, in a cabinet, in an office, etc.
Q: How do I determine which AED is the best choice for my business/organization/home?
A: While all AEDs function very similarily, there are a few things to look for. Public Access AEDs should be as easy to use as possible for non-medically trained people. Avoid AEDs that may be too confusing for the lay-rescuer, too many visual, audio instructions, too many details on the electrodes, etc. Choosing an AED with escalating energy is also important, as no two body types are the same, and more energy may be needed for more difficult to defibrillate patients.
Q: What does the Heart & Stroke Foundation say about AEDs?
A: The Heart & Stroke is a strong advocate for having publicly accessible defibrillators everywhere there are gatherings of people. You can view the entire Heart & Stroke position on AEDs in the link below. There are many great resources on the Heart & Stroke website!
How difficult is it to use an AED?
Q: Can I shock someone with an AED if they don’t need it?
A: AEDs are designed to be extremely safe to use. AEDs will only deliver a shock when the electrodes have been properly attached to a patient, and the AED reads that the patient has a specific, shockable rhythm.
Q: Is it safe to use an AED on a child?
A: All AEDs have some form of infant/child specific electrodes or settings, for a patient under 8 years of age, or approximately 55 lbs. Even if the AED does not have a set of infant/child pads nearby, it is advised to use the adult electrodes, as any action is better than none. The electrodes are placed on the front and back of the child, rather than front and side as depicted on the electrodes.
Q: Are there any legal implications for using an AED?
A: In Canada there are Provincial and Federal Good Samaritan Laws, stating that as long as the rescuer acted in good faith attempting to save a victim from death, they are protected. Recently, provinces have begun to use language specifically referencing AEDs.
Is there any maintenance for an AED?
Q: How often do I need to change the battery on my AED
A: All AEDs have some variation of a lithium battery pack that must be replaced anywhere from every 2-5 years. The battery may need to be replaced more frequently if the AED is used. The AED will inform you when the battery pak needs to be replaced, however it is important to record when the battery was installed so you can plan for an approximate replacement date.
Our Free AED Registry System can assist you with tracking these expiry dates.
Q: Do the electrodes need to be replaced?
A: The electrode pads for your AED should be replaced approx. every 2 years. The pads are made with a water-based gel, which does eventually dry up over time, so it is important to always have current electrode pads with your AED.