Man suffers cardiac arrest in stands during Sens, Habs game

A 64-year-old man who had a heart attack in the stands as the Ottawa Senators took on the Montreal Canadians at home Sunday night might not have survived if fellow fans did not rush to his help, according to Ottawa paramedics.

Several people sitting nearby knew CPR and jumped in to help, bystanders say

Paramedics said a 64-year-old man wouldn't be alive if it weren't for some heroic Senators fans. 2:09

A 64-year-old man who had a heart attack in the stands as the Ottawa Senators took on the Montreal Canadians at home Sunday night might not have survived if fellow fans did not rush to his help, according to Ottawa paramedics.

Lori Vanderlinden performed CPR on the man until paramedics arrived at the Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday night. (CBC News)
"I thought there was a fight going on because people were yelling, but as soon as I heard the word 'medic,' then I realized this man was in trouble," said Lori Vanderlinden, who was sitting in the 200 section at the Canadian Tire Centre during the game when a man sitting nearby slumped over in his seat.

Vanderlinden ran over to the man and began CPR.

"He didn't seem to have a pulse, was non-responsive," she said. "I feel badly for his wife. It was an awful thing for her."

Vanderlinden was assisted by Lars Thompson, a physician, who said there were a lot of people sitting nearby who also knew CPR and were ready to help.

Physician Lars Thompson assisted Vanderlinden until paramedics arrived. (CBC News)
"The most amazing thing was how many people were willing to help and how many people knew CPR, and how quickly the medical staff got here," he said.

"Unfortunately, as a physician, it comes up fairly often. I have a habit of being on planes where something like this seems to happen, more than once. But we're trained to deal with it."

'Chain of survival' saved man's life

Paramedics took over upon arrival, administering resuscitative drugs and shocking him with a defibrillator before transporting him to the Queensway-Carleton Hospital.

"Before we brought him down to our vehicle for transportation to hospital, the gentleman had regained a pulse at that time. Still unconscious but we managed to regain a pulse," said Ottawa paramedic spokesman J. P. Trottier told CBC News.

The man was in critical condition at the time but on Monday he had improved to serious condition.

"The odds of survival are much, much greater if what we call 'the chain of survival' is enacted," Trottier said. "Had it not been for all of those things lined up, I don't think he would be alive."

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