The family of an elderly man who died of an apparent heart attack after collapsing at a Winnipeg McDonald's restaurant, as well as the people who tried to save him, say they want defibrillators in restaurants.
Dave Pineau says he was with his family — celebrating his four-year-old son's birthday — at a McDonald's in the city's Southdale neighbourhood on Friday when they saw 90-year-old Charles Bryant Hodge collapse inside the restaurant.
Pineau said his wife performed CPR until paramedics arrived about 10 minutes later, but Hodge died.
There was no automatic external defibrillator (AED) at the restaurant, said Pineau, who has launched a social media campaign calling on the fast-food restaurant chain to install the emergency devices at its locations.
"At the time, it was just a matter of doing what my wife needed to do, and we didn't think anything of it," he said Monday.
"Since then, since we've reflected a little bit, we certainly think that it would have been great to have one there."
An automated external defibrillator contains electronics that can identify cardiac rhythms, and then deliver a shock to correct abnormal electrical activity in the heart.
Using a defibrillator with cardiopulmonary resuscitation can improve survival rates by more than 75 per cent over CPR alone when a person suffers a cardiac arrest, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba has said.
Under Manitoba's Defibrillator Public Access Act, AEDs must be installed in "high-traffic public places such as gyms, arenas, community centres, golf courses, schools and airports."
Other locations that are required to have AEDs include major shopping malls, casinos, major sporting venues, museums and cultural centres, courthouses, the Winnipeg Convention Centre and the Manitoba legislative building.
Hodge's granddaughter, Shawna Hodge, told CBC News that AEDs should be installed in all public places, not just high-traffic areas.
"This could have happened to anybody, at anytime, at any place, and I think it would be a great idea to get them in place so that no other family had to go through what we did," she said in a Skype interview from Melita, Man.
Hodge added that she's thankful for the people who tried to save her grandfather's life.
"It's so nice to know that there's so many nice people out there just willing to help." she said.
'New and groundbreaking law'
Manitoba is the first Canadian jurisdiction to pass legislation requiring defibrillators in public places, and officials are focusing on making sure AEDs are in places "where cardiac arrest is more likely to occur such as gyms, indoor arenas, certain community centres, golf courses, schools and airports," a government spokesperson stated in an email.
The spokesperson said about 2,300 AEDs are currently registered in the province, and the number continues to grow.
"As this is a new and groundbreaking law, we will be assessing its effectiveness going forward," the spokesperson wrote.
"It’s also worth noting that some businesses not captured in our legislation have gone ahead and installed AEDs due to the awareness created by the legislation."
In a statement, McDonald's Canada says it requires at least one shift manager on duty who is certified to administer first aid.
As for the issue of AEDs, the company said, "Further inquiries regarding defibrillators are best addressed by Manitoba Health."
Full statement by McDonald's Canada
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of a customer who recently visited one of our Winnipeg locations. The safety and security of our customers is a top priority, which is why we mandate every restaurant to have at least one shift manager on duty who is not only trained and certified in first aid but also undergoes regular re-certification as per their province of operation’s guidelines. We applaud the quick work of our customers who provided CPR, as well as the emergency responders. Further inquiries regarding defibrillators are best addressed by Manitoba Health.