“I’ve done it again.” This is probably not a call that most parents would want to receive from their child at 10:30 p.m. on a Monday night. Art and Diane Kerr of Orléans are no different.
Orléans resident saves a life… again
“It was like uh-oh, what did you just do again?” says Diane Kerr.
“Oh my God, I saved another life tonight,” replied their son David Kerr.
For David, 20, ‘another’ is the key word. The first incident happened in 2005 when he was 16, outside a Jack Astor’s restaurant in Kanata. A man was struck by lightning, and Kerr – three days away from his lifeguard certification exam – and another man performed CPR until paramedics arrived. They were credited with saving the man’s life.
For his part, David won several awards, including the Ontario Lifesaving Society’s Rescue Award of Merit, and the Royal Lifesaving Society’s Russell Medal. For the second award, he flew to Britain for a week and was presented the medal.
The most recent incident was on Jan. 4 at the Bob McQuarrie Recreation Complex in Orléans. Kerr says it was around 8:30 p.m. when someone came out of the changing room to say a man had fainted. He remembers taking the portable trauma kit and had another lifeguard bring the automated external defibrillator. “When I got there he was breathing, so there wasn’t much I could do,” he notes. “I just kept monitoring his vitals.”
The victim’s breathing then stopped. Kerr explains he then put the AED on the man, and performed CPR. When the machine told him treatment was necessary, he used the defibrillator. “When I heard the machine say treatment advised, I kind of just took a deep breath and was like ‘Whoa, I’m actually going to do this for real.’”
After about two minutes, Kerr says the man began to breathe on his own, although he continued CPR. When the paramedics arrived, he was almost breathing regularly, and his heart was beating on its own.
In this case, Joe Micucci of the Ottawa Paramedic Service says the staff did an excellent job. “They did exactly what they had to do in a timely manner,” he adds. “They performed their duties and their skills perfectly.” “I’m impressed every time I come to one of these facilities and lifeguards, these 16-20 year olds, are dealing with someone who has died in front of their face,” Micucci notes. “Even with the stress that it brings they are still able to do what needs to be done.”
Micucci also credits the Paramedic Public Access Defibrillator program with assisting in the save. The program started in 2002 and put over 350 defibrillators in public venues, such as pools and arenas.
While he never thought he would save two lives, Kerr says this time he was better prepared for the situation. “I remember having time to think this time,” he explains. “It was like, this is happening again? No way. “The first time I had a massive amount of emotions and the tunnel vision kicked in instantly.”
However, he says he would be even better prepared if something were to happen in the future. “There are still little things I could fix,” he says. “I feel a lot more confident. If something were to happen I’d be able to deal with the situation no problem.”
His mother, Diane, says his parents are very proud of him. “It was awesome for him to be able to take charge like that,” she notes.
She says she is not worried if David fails to save someone in the future. “I believe he knows there’s always a possibility it might happen,” she explains. “Would it haunt him and disrupt his life? I don’t think it would. He seems to be a very strong person.”
In comparison to the recognition he received the first time, Kerr explains he doesn’t expect any awards because it happened at his workplace.