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One evening, 16-year-old Jessica was watching television with her family when her father complained of discomfort. “I thought it was just indigestion,” says Hubert, 47, who had also been dealing with pain from a dislocated shoulder.
Throughout the night, Hubert showed increasing signs of discomfort and Jessica’s mom called 911. Jessica knew she needed to act when her mother suddenly cried out “Hubert, Hubert… Wake up! Wake up!”
“I was on edge because my father was no longer responding,” explains Jessica. “My mom cried out ‘No, Hubert! No!’” Jessica was quick to take action. “I rushed over and saw that he wasn’t breathing. I pushed my mother aside and then started compressions. I just heard ’30 and 2’ repeat itself in my mind as I was doing it. I think about it now – it was a question of survival for my father.”
The “30 and 2” refers to the 30 compressions-2 breaths technique that Jessica had learned through the ACT High School CPR and Defibrillator Program at her school, l’Ecole secondaire Henri-Dunant, in Blainville, Quebec.
Jessica continued with CPR until paramedics arrived with a defibrillator, which was used six times before Hubert was transported to the hospital. Jessica’s quick-thinking and her actions during those critical moments saved her father. She is quick to credit the training she received in school for her lifesaving actions. “If I had attended a different school that didn’t offer the program, my father wouldn’t be alive today. I was trained, I knew what to do – and words can’t describe how happy I am that my father is still with us.”
“We always think that it won’t happen to us, but anything is possible,” asserts Jessica. Hubert, who is recovering well, heartily agrees. “I may not have been particularly attentive to nutrition, but I exercised daily. Yet I sincerely believe that if Jessica had not learned CPR in school, I wouldn’t be alive today.”
The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation is a national charitable organization that has empowered more than 2 million youth across Canada to save lives. With provincial-level support from the Government of Quebec, ACT strives to ensure secondary schools across Quebec are equipped with the necessary resources for teachers to provide hands-on CPR and defibrillation training to their students each year. AstraZeneca Canada, Pfizer Canada and Sanofi are ACT’s national health partners and are committed to the Foundation’s goal of promoting health while ensuring lifesaving skills become basic life skills for generations of Canadians.