Life­savers were there when it counted

C.B.N. res­i­dents hon­oured for per­form­ing CPR on woman in Car­bon­ear

The Compass - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

Erin Hod­der never ex­pected she’d ac­tu­ally need to use her CPR train­ing af­ter it be­came a ne­ces­sity for her job as a phar­ma­cist in or­der to ad­min­is­ter in­jec­tions.

“I said to peo­ple af­ter the fact, it’s some­thing you think you’ll never in a mil­lion years use,” she told The Com­pass last week. “But it’s amaz­ing how you re­mem­ber what they teach you when you’re in that sit­u­a­tion. It’s amaz­ing how it just comes back so sud­denly.”

But last July, the Bay Roberts res­i­dent faced a po­ten­tial life-or-death sit­u­a­tion head on. To­gether with a highly qual­i­fied in­di­vid­ual who just hap­pened to be at the Car­bon­ear Wal­mart where she worked at the time, Hod­der was able to make a dif­fer­ence.

Late last month, Hod­der and Har­bour Grace fire­fighter and first aid in­struc­tor Paul Snow re­ceived St. John Am­bu­lance Life-Sav­ing Awards for per­form­ing car­diopul­monary re­sus­ci­ta­tion on a woman who fell to the ground sud­denly in­side the store. The awards were pre­sented May 25 in St. John’s.

Snow was out with his wife shop­ping on that day last July on his way to the check­out when he heard some­one call out. He was just then pass­ing the phar­macy.

“Some­one else was there, and I asked them to go call an am­bu­lance, and they left,” Snow said. “I was just try­ing to see what had hap­pened and how she might have fainted, but I couldn’t see no shelves tipped over. There was no mer­chan­dise on the floor, and then when I got down and checked her, she was bleed­ing.”

His pres­ence that day was quite the stroke of luck. Snow has taught first aid for over 30 years and is now in his 38th year with the Har­bour Grace Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade. He is an ac­tive in­struc­tor with St. John Am­bu­lance. Asked how many times he’s per­formed first aid, Snow replied he’s lost track.

“I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many times I’ve done CPR, ei­ther through work or vol­un­teer work or be­ing on for events where you’re re­spon­si­ble for first aid,” Snow said.

The sit­u­a­tion in­side the mall was a bit dif­fer­ent for Snow, given he usu­ally has equip­ment with him, but that proved to be of no con­cern. Once the pair re­al­ized the woman’s pulse was gone and her breath­ing very shal­low, im­me­di­ate ac­tion was taken. Snow looked af­ter chest com­pres­sions while Hod­der breathed into the woman’s mouth. They did this un­til paramedics ar­rived to trans­port her to Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

“I thought it wasn’t a long time, be­cause the am­bu­lance was re­ally quick,” said Snow, adding the woman still wasn’t breath­ing by the time they ar­rived.

Woman sur­vived

Ac­cord­ing to Snow, most of

“I said to peo­ple af­ter the fact, it’s some­thing you think you’ll never in a mil­lion years use.”

— Erin Hod­der

the time it’s hard to know what hap­pened to peo­ple in these sorts of sit­u­a­tions in light of pri­vacy laws. How­ever, a rel­a­tive of the woman he hap­pened to know quite well con­tacted Snow the next day and said she was sit­ting up and ask­ing for a meal.

Snow dropped by the Wal­mart phar­macy a few days later to share the good news with Hod­der.

“It was a hard cou­ple of days for me, be­cause I re­ally didn’t know, I re­ally had no idea what the out­come of it was,” said Hod­der. “So I’m re­ally just glad that she’s OK.”

Hod­der and Snow both feel good about what they did that day. Snow is also quick to credit all the other peo­ple who helped that woman sur­vive, in­clud­ing paramedics and staff at the hospi­tal.

Hod­der gives ku­dos to her first aid trainer from the Cana­dian Red Cross Wayne Young for pre­par­ing her well. She was also par­tic­u­larly grate­ful to have Snow there with her last July.

“He was fab­u­lous,” she said. “He was so calm and so to­gether.”

As a first aid in­struc­tor, Snow pe­ri­od­i­cally comes across peo­ple he’s trained be­fore who are get­ting re­cer­ti­fied, and he’ll hear sto­ries of how that train­ing made a dif­fer­ence for some­one else.

“It’s pretty cool when that hap­pens,” he said. “You know you’ve done some­thing that helped some­body in a cri­sis.”

Hod­der and Snow are firm be­liev­ers in the value of first aid train­ing, and it was with this in mind that the pair agreed to ap­pear in a St. John Am­bu­lance video last fall as a means to raise aware­ness.

“There could be some­one out there look­ing af­ter their el­derly par­ents or god knows, a woman home look­ing af­ter kids who doesn’t have CPR or first aid train­ing, and maybe if it can con­vince them to do it, then it would be worth it,” said Hod­der, who ad­mits to be­ing a per­son who doesn’t crave the spot­light.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the award in St. John’s May 25, Snow re­ceived a mes­sage from the woman’s son that said she’s still do­ing very well.


Erin Hod­der of Bay Roberts re­ceives a St. John Am­bu­lance Life-Sav­ing Award from New­found­land and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Frank Fa­gan.


Har­bour Grace fire­fighter and first aid in­struc­tor Paul Snow ac­cepts a St. John Am­bu­lance Life-Sav­ing Award from Lt. Gov. Frank Fa­gan.

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