News

Maple Ridge man saved on highway

Wally Berg holds a CPR barrier mask with a one-way valve and oxygen inlet that he used to help a man who collapsed along Lougheed Hwy.in Maple Ridge on Saturday. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Wally Berg holds a CPR barrier mask with a one-way valve and oxygen inlet that he used to help a man who collapsed along Lougheed Hwy.in Maple Ridge on Saturday.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

The quick actions of passerbys saved a man life in Maple Ridge on Saturday after he collapsed while jogging along Lougheed Highway.

The 63-year-old fell on a sidewalk near Laity Street around 11:45 a.m. and was quickly surrounded by people who saw him hit the pavement.

Walter Berg, his wife and son were heading into Vancouver from Mission for a walk around English Bay when they spotted a line of cars pulled over on the side of road.

"That's when I noticed a man lying on the sidewalk, with people around him," said Berg, an emergency medical responder and former first-aid instructor for St. John's Ambulance and the Red Cross.

Berg grabbed a first aid kit, which he always keeps in his car, and rushed in to help. He saw a bottle of nitro-glycerine near the man and guessed he most likely suffered a heart attack.

With the help of another bystander, Berg rolled the man into a "supine" position, onto his back and found he wasn't breathing.

He pulled out a pocket mask, put an oral airway into the man's mouth and began to resuscitate him, while others called 911.

The Maple Ridge Fire Department was the first to arrive on scene and used their defibrillator to shock the man once.

Advanced life support paramedics eventually took charge and stabilized the man before transporting him to hospital.

"It is never to early or too late to try and intervene, to try and make a difference," said Berg, who has been a medic for 25 years and now runs a company that  first aid kits and supplies.

"I hope that if I'm ever in the situation somebody like me will come along and help. It was a happy ending for everybody that day."

Police, paramedics and the fire department credit the actions of Berg and other bystanders for giving the man a fighting chance at recovery.

Ridge Meadows RCMP report the man was taken to hospital and breathing on his own.

People who suffer cardiac arrest out of hospital are three to four times more likely to survive when they receive CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. About 60 per cent of heart attacks happen outside a hospital.

"The sooner you start it the better their chances," said Dr. William Dick, regional medical director for British Columbia Ambulance Service.

"Hands-on" CPR without mouth-to-mouth contact has the same effect.

"It easily doubles or triples the likelihood of leaving hospital, neurologically intact," said Dick.

• Learn to perform bystander CPR, by watching this video.

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