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Eleanor and Jim Crorey's story

Wife's quick actions help safe husband's life

May 23, 2018

Earlier in her life, Eleanor Crorey had learned CPR, years later the training was put to the test.

"At the time when I was taking it I thought 'oh yes, I could do this if I had to' then it just goes out of your head," she said.

It all came rushing back when she heard her husband Jim fall in their basement.

"As soon as I saw him I knew it wasn't a fall, it was something else," she recalled. “I was yelling at him 'Jim, Jim wake up'. He didn't respond to me."

She quickly called 9-1-1 for help.

"They asked me if I could start CPR, if I knew how," she said. "I said 'yes, I think I can'. They said they would walk me through it. I put the phone down and I just thought 'well I don't know if I remember'."

Rory Wood was the 9-1-1 dispatcher on the other side of the call.

"The wife was a little panicked, obviously, but she followed instructions really well," he remembered.

Firefighter Mark Cortens arrived shortly after and used a defibrillator to help get Jim's pulse back.

"We got him out of the basement on a backboard and out to the ambulance," he said.

While first responders worked on Jim, they also credit his wife's CPR for helping him survive.

"If she didn't do adequate CPR I don't think he would have had the outcome that he did so he is very fortunate have had her there," Lara Franklin, a paramedic who responded to the call, said.

Several factors affect every 9-1-1 call, but Chris Rollwagen, a Field Training Inspector with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, believes in this case.

"When you back look at the call, you look at all the ducks falling into a row," he said. "Everything that we preach about in our training, everything fell into place."

That included Eleanor recognizing early on something was wrong with Jim and performing CPR on him with the help of the dispatcher. Chris also said quick response and treatment from emergency crews with transport to hospital were key.

"It all helped the outcome of this call," he said.

Jim is thankful his wife was there to help him.

"I owe her," Jim said.

"I don't know whether I saved his life or not,” Eleanor said. “I helped… it feels wonderful to have him here."