Winnipeg bystanders step up to the plate for a third of heart attack patients

Winnipeg bystanders step up to the plate for a third of heart attack patients

If you have a heart attack in Winnipeg, there's a roughly one-in-three chance a bystander will try to save your life before medical professionals show up.

Information posted this week on the City of Winnipeg's website suggests bystanders attempted to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation in 31 per cent of the cases where people suffered heart attacks outside of a hospital in 2016.

Bystanders stepped up to the plate 373 times out of the 1,214 out-of-hospital cardiac events last year, stated Andre Berard, assistant chief of service quality for the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

This level of bystander intervention is "fairly consistent" with the heart-attack statistics the city compiled in other years, city spokesman Michelle Finley said.

​She encouraged more Winnipeggers to learn CPR and make themselves aware of the location of the nearest automated defibrillator machine.

According to the Canadian Red Cross, more than 33,000 Manitobans received first aid training — which includes CPR training — in the past year. That's up from 28,000 the year before.

"It is good to know people are willing and trained to respond during medical events," said Jason Small, Canadian Red Cross communications manager for Manitoba.

"The Canadian Red Cross encourages all Manitobans to take some form of First Aid training so that they are prepared to respond when necessary."

Despite the apparent willingness of Winnipeggers to assist strangers, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service still advises people to call 911 if they suspect someone is having a heart attack. Operators can and do provide CPR instruction over the phone, Finley said