Quick-thinking brother saves teenage sister's life with CPR
HALIFAX -- It started out as a typical night for Moncton's Quinn family on Valentine's Day, with mom, brother, and sister hanging out at home.
Then, 24-year-old Logan Quinn heard a thump from his sister's room.
"I'd just woken up from a nap, and I heard a noise as if a phone or something dropped," Logan Quinn said.
At first, he didn't think much of it, but then thought he'd poke his head into his sister's room anyway.
It was then that he discovered something was seriously wrong with the 15-year-old. When Logan opened her bedroom door, he saw Paige on the floor.
"I tapped her cheek, and said 'come on', and her head just kind of flopped," he said.
Logan says he ran to tell their mother that Paige was unresponsive and not breathing. Then, he called 911. The operator coached him through CPR.
"And I started pushing down on her chest," Logan recalls, "and then (the 911 operator) started out with one two three, and then she said 'we're now going to do one two three four,'" Quinn said.
AIRLIFTED TO HALIFAX
Logan kept performing CPR on his sister until paramedics arrived about 10 minutes later. They revived her and took her to the hospital in Moncton. She was then airlifted to the IWK in Halifax later that night.
Logan picked up his mom from the Moncton hospital, and they drove to Halifax to be with her.
It was at the IWK Health Centre that doctors determined why Paige had mysteriously collapsed.
Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Santohk Dhillon started looking into Paige's case the second day she was in hospital.
"After getting more information," he says, "we figured out that she probably has an electrical problem with her heart. We call it Long QT Syndrome."
Long QT syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. It is a rare disorder of the heart's electrical system, which can sometimes be the result of a gene mutation.
Symptoms can include unexplained fainting or seizures.
But there can also be no warning at all – until the irregular heartbeats unexpectedly cause the heart to stop, which often leads to sudden death.
Dr. Dhillon credits Logan's quick actions for Paige's survival.
"She's alive today just because of her getting effective CPR from her brother for such a long time," says Dr. Dhillon.
For Canadian Red Cross first aid and CPR instructor Kim Mundle, the story is proof of how important it is to know CPR.
'ANYONE CAN LEARN CPR'
"Anyone can learn CPR," Mundle says, "and even over the phone, you can save a life."
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, about 35,000 cardiac arrests happen every year in Canada. Each minute without oxygen and blood flow to the brain, increases the risk of permanent damage and death.
Mundle recommends everyone should take a CPR training course, but even without it, she says, it's better to act if someone has gone into cardiac arrest, than stand by and do nothing.
"First thing you need to do is find the right spot," she says. "Put your hands in the middle of the chest and push hard and push fast."
For instructions on how to do compression only CPR, you can find them on the Canadian Red Cross website.
"If we see them quickly and start helping right away, chances are improved," Mundle says.
While Logan didn't have access to an automated external defibrillator or AED, Mundle says if there is one nearby, get it as soon as possible and use it.
CPR paired with an AED can double a person's chance of survival.
Meanwhile, Logan Quinn is anxious to get his sister home after weeks in the hospital.
He says his sister was due to be discharged from the IWK Friday and the family will then head straight home to Moncton.
Dr. Dhillon says Paige now has an internal defibrillator and is on medication that will help her live a long and healthy life – a second chance possible because of her big brother, and CPR.