As It Happens

Moviegoers in Halifax save man's life after he goes into cardiac arrest

Earl Kiley is thanking his lucky stars that he decided to go to the movie with his fiancée rather than stay home alone at their Nova Scotia cottage.

Earl Kiley says he's fortunate there were 2 nurses and 1 doctor in the audience, and a defibrillator on site

Earl Kiley, left, was at the movies with his fiancée Janet Bousquet, right, in Halifax when he went into cardiac arrest and was saved by audience members and a defibrillator. (Submitted by Janet Bousquet)
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Transcript

Earl Kiley is thanking his lucky stars that he decided to go to the movie with his fiancée rather than stay home alone at their Nova Scotia cottage.

That's because when the 62-year-old went into cardiac arrest during the film, there happened to be a doctor and two nurses in the audience, and a defibrillator on hand at the theatre. 

"I wouldn't be here talking to you if they hadn't used it, that's for sure," Kiley old As It Happens host Carol Off.

"It probably would have been a different story."

'It was like a premonition'

Kiley says it was his partner Janet Bousquet's idea to go see the new Gerard Butler action movie Angel Has Fallen in Halifax on Aug. 22. The B.C. couple is vacationing in Prospect, N.S., just outside the city. 

Kiley had been feeling kind of sick all day, he said, and he doesn't really like going to the movies. But for some reason, he decided to accompany Bousquet that night.

"It's weird because it was like a premonition," he said. "For some reason, regardless of how corny the movie or how much of a love story it was, I was going to the movies with Janet that night."

I was waiting for the action to happen, and I guess that it happened when I when I fell off my off my perch there, so to speak.- Earl Kiley

During the film, he got bored and started to fall asleep in his chair, he said. That's when he went into cardiac arrest. 

"She just noticed me kind of, you know, slowly falling asleep and then all of a sudden I started to slump in my seat and [start] gasping for air," he said. 

"I was waiting for the action to happen, and I guess that it happened when I fell off my perch there, so to speak."

Audience members to the rescue 

He doesn't remember much after that, he said, but Bousquet filled him in on the details. 

"I stood up and … was screaming 'Help, help,'" Bousquet told CTV News, which first reported the story. "The lights came on and the people came running — actually, the whole audience came running down toward Earl."

The health-care professionals in the audience performed CPR on Kiley while communicating with a 911 dispatcher. One of them administered a defibrillator, which was kept on site at the Scotiabank Cineplex theatre. 

He and Bousquet say mobile defibrillators like the one at the theatre should be made available in more public places.

"The only thing I remember is someone with shiny glasses screaming at me,'Earl, Earl! Wake up, wake up!'" Kiley said.  

"Apparently, that was the doctor, and that was after he administered the defibrillator." 

The next thing he remembers, he was in the hospital, where he agreed to have defibrillator implanted.

He's now feeling much better, he said, and is hoping to track down the people who saved his life.

"That's my quest," he said. "I'd like to like to thank them personally."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Produced by Katie Geleff. 

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