A Saanich teenager is being credited with helping to revive an 82-year-old Cordova Bay man whose heart had stopped.
Thomas Ottewell, 17, was on his way home from a calculus exam at Claremont Secondary School at about 2:35 p.m. Wednesday when he saw a crowd gathered around an elderly man on the sidewalk in the 5000-block of Cordova Bay Road.
David Makinson, 82, was on the ground. He wasn’t breathing and his heart had stopped. “I noticed he was really pale and I thought he wasn’t alive,” said Ottewell.
The man’s wife, Jennifer, was with him.
Ottewell, a Panorama Recreation Centre lifeguard, jumped off his scooter and ran across the road. He took charge of the situation and instructed the man’s wife to give two breaths after he performed 30 heart compressions as part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
“I thought ‘I am his best chance here. No one else knows how to help him,’ ” Ottewell said.
Upon their arrival, Saanich police assisted with CPR. Saanich firefighters arrived with an automated external defibrillator.
“Police and fire worked together and the man was given two shocks with the [defibrillator] and was successfully revived,” said Saanich police Staff Sgt. Rob Piercy. “An advanced life-support attendant reported that the man had, in fact, died and was saved by the immediate response of Mr. Ottewell initiating CPR followed with the automated external defibrillator.”
Within minutes, B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics Ray Desveaux and Paul Curtis had also arrived. An advanced life-support team took over the man’s medical care, and he was taken to Royal Jubilee Hospital where he was listed as stable.
The man’s daughter, Julie Makinson, said her family is thankful for the teen’s presence of mind.
“I’m so impressed with this young man and his competence. It’s tremendous. He came at just the right moment,” Makinson said. “He would like to meet my dad as soon as he is stable. I would love for them to meet.”
Ottewell said he acted on instinct. “I’m trained to do this and I’m morally obligated to help. There wasn’t a second thought in my head.”
Parents Lee and Carole Ottewell were pleasantly surprised to hear of their son’s heroic actions. “We’re just extremely proud of him,” Lee Ottewell said.
Ottewell is in his final year at Claremont and hopes to get into the University of Victoria’s engineering program.
Panorama aquatic programmer Emily Watts said Ottewell is a popular lifeguard and teacher, and fantastic with kids. His actions Wednesday are a testament to his character, she said. “He’s a wonderful person willing to take that initiative and leadership.”
Paramedics said Thursday that they often see the positive results that CPR administered by bystanders can have on patients.
“That’s why we encourage everyone to learn more about CPR and become trained,” Desveaux said.
Ottewell said he’s still trying to comprehend what happened but that anyone can and should learn the basics of CPR.
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