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Lisa Glass' story

Winnipeg woman vividly recalls paramedics shocking her heart

May 23, 2018

In just minutes, a routine day at work for Lisa Glass turned into a rush to save her life.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Lisa recalled. "I was just about to start a haircut and my client brought me in a coffee and I took a big sip of it."

She then started to get pain in her chest. She thought was heartburn but it got worse.

Her coworker could tell something was not right.

"I thought maybe she was having a panic attack so I took her outside to get some air and that did not help," Candace Holdberg said.

She called 9-1-1. The dispatcher, Sarah Murphy, talked Candace though what to do next.

"I went through the pre-arrival instructions of getting aspirin to her which is always really helpful in a cardiac event," Sarah said.

Candace quickly ran to a nearby pharmacy to get aspirin and had Lisa chew two of the pills while they waited for emergency crews.

"She presented normal but looked a little pale and a little sweaty," said Firefighter Paul Boyko, who was one of the first on scene.

Luis Melchor, a paramedic, prepared for what he thought was a routine chest pain call.

"It turned out to be something different," he said.

While the first responders were assessing Lisa, the situation quickly changed.

"She looked over to me and said her hands felt cold and she couldn't hold them up anymore and she went into a seizure," Paramedic Trevor Myshrall said.

She had gone into cardiac arrest.

"I remember coming to, and Trevor pounding on my chest saying ‘Lisa come back, come back'. I just gasped and opened my eyes and it felt like organized chaos," Lisa remembered.

She vividly remembers the paramedics shocking her twice to try to get her heart back to a normal rhythm.

"I just remember screaming so loud," she said. "I felt like I had electricity coming out of my hands, eyes, ears. I remember when the shock was over my arms falling to the sides of the gurney. I said to Trevor ‘just let me go, I can't do this again'."

But the paramedics continued to work.

"Because we started CPR so quick, she appeared conscious and looking at us during this time," Trevor said. "Luis and I kept telling her ‘I know this hurts, it is uncomfortable but we have to do this. Your heart had stopped beating.'"

Her heart ended up returning to a normal rhythm just before the crew arrived to St. Boniface Hospital.

The next day the paramedic team stopped by the hospital to see how Lisa was doing.

"I thought that was unbelievable," she said. "They didn't have to do that."

Lisa has since been able to return to work and is very grateful for care she received.

"I don't think I could have come this far without all the help from everyone," she said.

On average cardiac arrest happens every 12 minutes in Canada.

Combined with CPR, and AED can help increase the chance of survival.

Learn more about how to use AEDs to help in CPR.