Tignish family grateful for life-saving effort from friends, strangers

·2 min read
Ina Gaudette, left, choked while eating pizza on a road trip and went unconscious.  (Submitted: Sandra Bridges - image credit)
Ina Gaudette, left, choked while eating pizza on a road trip and went unconscious. (Submitted: Sandra Bridges - image credit)

Cora Gaudette-Shay couldn't be more thankful for the friends and strangers who helped save her sister's life.

Three weeks ago, her sister, Ina Gaudette, choked and became unresponsive during a road trip.

Ina has an intellectual disability and was with her support worker, Sandra Bridges, and Bridges's fiancé, John Perry, at the time.

"We went to pick up some pizza for her for dinner," Bridges said. "As she was eating pizza in the back seat of our truck she started to choke.

"We pulled over to the side and we got everything out of her mouth and we thought everything was good. [But] she started to cough again, and the next thing she wasn't breathing. Her lips started turning blue.... I was panicking."

Perry, who was driving, pulled over to the side of a road in East Bideford and attempted to resuscitate Gaudette. Bridges called 911.

"Her eyes were rolling to the back of her head," said Perry. "I knew she wasn't breathing."

Submitted: Sandra Bridges
Submitted: Sandra Bridges

Fortunately for them, Rick Bernard, a man from Lennox Island, was driving by.

Bernard said that Bridges had a "panicked look" and waved him over.

"As I was running to see what the problem was, her [fiancé] was pulling out an unconscious woman from the back of the truck," Bernard said.

"When we put her on the ground her face was blue, all her skin was blue."

Together, Perry and Bernard began performing CPR on Gaudette. Perry is a volunteer firefighter at the Miminegash Volunteer Fire Department and Bernard is a coast guard auxiliary.

"It took us about probably seven or eight minutes to get her to come back."

Submitted: Rick Bernard
Submitted: Rick Bernard

The Tyne Valley Fire Department and an ambulance arrived shortly after Gaudette was revived. She was taken to the hospital for a checkup.

"It was pretty impressive. A gentleman by the name of Rick, Sandra and John, they did a tremendous effort to revive her," Gaudette-Shay said.

Misti Myers, who is from from Lennox Island, witnessed the incident as well. She offered Ina a blanket after she was resuscitated.

"I wanted to know if she was OK," she said. "It was really scary. I've never seen anything like that."

Myers also paid Gaudette a visit last week. She was pleased to see her much better than when she first met her, she said.

"It was nice to see her after such a traumatic event."

As for Bernard, he hopes more Islanders can help each other in times of distress.

"People come up to me and tell me I'm a hero but I don't think so. I just hope that if I was the other person someone would help me like that."

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