Thomas Brockman pressed his face against the cool glass of his bedroom window to escape the heat coursing through his body.
“I was burning. I was on fire,” he said.
He noticed his daughter had arrived home and then collapsed. Samantha heard crying as she arrived home around midnight.
“I heard my dad’s girlfriend say, ‘Oh god, he’s not breathing’ and at that point I just opened the door and saw the situation,” said Samantha.
Samantha, who was 19 at the time, was in shock, then some prompting by her brother to use the CPR skills she learned as a City of Nanaimo lifeguard moved her into action.
At that point adrenalin kicked in and she didn’t have emotions. She just did what she had to do to help save her father’s life.
For Brockman, the events of that night are faded fragments he can’t recall. After collapsing in his bedroom he remembers waking up in the intensive care unit surrounded by family.
“I remember waking up and ‘what happened’. I thought it was a dream, but it was reality,” said Brockman.
Samantha said CPR is an important skill and more people should take the time to learn it.
“You never know when it could happen. You don’t even think it will happen,” said Samantha. “You can save a life by just knowing what to do,” Samantha.
Samantha’s quick use of CPR helped save her father’s life. Using her CPR skills at home to save a loved one was a situation Samantha never expected to happen. She thought if a situation arose it would be at work.
“It’s not something that you expect [your children] to do, but she’s like and angel,” said Brockman.
During a ceremony Saturday at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Samantha was presented with the B.C. Ambulance Service Vital Link medal for resuscitating her father last April.
B.C. ambulance service gives out 50 Vital Link medals a year to people who have saved a life through cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
Kelly Ross, a BCAS advanced life support paramedic, said when a situation like the ones the Brockmans experienced arises, it’s important for people to remember five important links that need to come together quickly to help save a person’s life: immediate recognition of the situation, early CPR, rapid defibrillation, effective advanced life support and integrated post-cardiac arrest care.
“Probably the most important link is the CPR,” said Ross, adding that in order for effective defibrillation and post-cardiac care in the hospital, the heart must be able to respond and CPR is important to ensure that.
“Without CPR, the defibrillation is nowhere as successful,” said Ross. “There is a lot of value placed on the old basics.”