It's an incident so traumatic and severe that those in the medical profession dub it "the widow maker"
But thanks to the quick actions of a pair of Burke Mountain residents, the Morokhovich family remains in tact.
Flanked by family, paramedics and media alike, the Morokhovich family convened on Mike Farnworth's constituency office Monday to thank the PoCo MLA and others for their actions in saving the life of the family patriarch, Mikhail, who suffered a heart attack while walking along a Burke Mountain roadside in February.
"Life's short and [Mikhail's] around to be a father, to be a husband, to see his kids grow up and go to their graduation - it just makes you feel really good," said a visibly emotional Farnworth.
The incident took place on Feb. 19 near the intersection of Scotch Pine Avenue and Marguerite Street in northeast Coquitlam.
House hunting at the time, Farnworth noticed a man laying face down on the sidewalk.
Farnworth first attended the scene and was joined shortly thereafter by Smith, who was driving by at the time.
A former lifeguard with five years experience in the field, Smith teamed up with Farnworth to provide "bystander CPR."
"I don't feel like I did anything special," Smith said. "I just went back to the training that I've had for years. I saw [Mikhail] and I wanted to help him. I'm grateful that he survived and he can live on to be a father to his children and be a part of his family."
According to paramedics at Monday's ceremony, the application of bystander CPR prevented Mikhail from possible brain damage or even death.
"The bottom line is-that if CPR wasn't started initially, none of this would be going on today. It makes the difference," said Rob Macmillan, an advanced life support paramedic.
Prior to the public portion of Monday's event, the extended Morokhovich family thanked Smith and Farnworth during a private gathering.
It's the first time the group had a chance to meet face to face.
"They took [Mikhail] away - I thought he was dead," Farnworth said.
"I didn't know that he survived until much later and it's pretty special to see somebody that you thought was dead and they're alive and they're a family. It's really great."
Mikhail's wife Melina was flanked by their two children - 14-year-old Cole and 12-year-old Anika - along with other members of their extended family.
While Mikhail's speech is still impacted due to the incident - he was also in a coma for three weeks after the heart attack - Melina explained that her husband had a clean bill of health. In fact, he had just finished playing soccer shortly before his heart attack.
"It's just one of those crappy things that happen," she said.
In recognition of their efforts, Farnworth and Smith were both awarded Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia (APBC) jackets.
"They did all the right things - everything came together," said APBC president Bronwyn Barter.
INFORMATION TO KNOW
The APBC offers the following advice in applying CPR:
. Call for help and look for danger . Open the airway and check if the person is breathing
. If there are no signs of normal breathing, perform chest compressions - compress the middle of the chest two inches straight down at a rate of about 100 compressions per minute
. Don't stop. Continue until paramedics arrive
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