A Maple Ridge nurse has been recognized provincially for her life-saving actions outside the Haney Place Walmart in June.
Stephanie Bazinet, an emergency room nurse at Ridge Meadows Hospital, has received the BC Emergency Health Services Vital Link Award for her quick action, performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation or CPR to a man in cardiac arrest on June 23.
Bazinet thought she was in for an ordinary day that morning as she ventured out at 10 a.m. into the rain to return a pair of shoes at Walmart.
Bazinet, an emergency room nurse at Ridge Meadows Hospital, was initially planning to go to the Walmart in Port Coquitlam on June 23 to return the shoes she bought for her 2-year-old the day before. But at 36 weeks pregnant she decided to make life easier for herself and at the last minute she decided to head to the Walmart at Haney Place Mall, closer to home.
”Literally at the last minute, instead of turning right to go to PoCo, I went straight to go the Maple Ridge Walmart,” said the nurse, thinking it would be a lot faster to complete the errand.
However, as she approached the doors to the department store, she realized something was wrong. At first she thought there was a lineup to get into the store, but Bazinet soon saw an elderly man collapsed at the entrance surrounded by about a dozen people.
Immediately Bazinet asked if they needed any help. She told the group she was an ER nurse. Initially the people helping the man said they were OK. But the experienced nurse knew better.
“Sometimes when people go into cardiac arrest they have this breathing that we call agonal respirations. So it looks kind of like they’re breathing but it’s these gasping breaths,” she explained.
When she asked someone in the group to check for a pulse, they realized they needed help.
They thought he was breathing, said Bazinet, who immediately checked for a pulse.
Finding none, she knew he needed help right away.
Bazinet asked if anyone else knew how to do CPR.
Nobody did, said Bazinet.
“I was like, alright, I guess it’s me,” she said.
Then, pushing aside the fact she was in her ninth month of pregnancy, and that the baby could come at any day, Bazinet got down on her knees.
The man was laying on his side because he had just vomited. So, she put him back on his back and started compressions.
She told a bystander to start a timer for her chest compressions. By that time, another person stepped forward who knew how to do CPR. And somebody from Walmart came out with a pocket mask, a mask with a one-way valve to allow somebody to give a person breaths through their mouth safely.
Bazinet was able to give the man respirations while the other person continued with chest compressions until Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue arrived on scene.
When firefighters took over and attached an AED, the automated external defibrillator detected a “shockable rhythm” and they were able to shock the man to the point where he regained consciousness before being transported to hospital by paramedics.
Before leaving the scene, she gave the paramedics detailed information about what happened, information she knew the team at the hospital would need know once the man arrived. Then she asked the bystanders if anyone needed to talk about what they had just witnessed, knowing how traumatic it could be to some people to see a scene like that. Then she asked a young man who was taking notes to get the names and phone numbers of every person there.
“In case it turns out that this gentleman has COVID,” she told him, knowing that if management at Walmart had a list ready for them it would make it easier for contact tracing.
Bazinet then notified one of her coworkers whom she knew was on shift at the hospital to expect a post-arrest at some point, telling them what just happened.
Her manager sent a text back asking her what she was doing performing CPR at 36 weeks pregnant during a pandemic.
She also sent a text to her husband letting him know that she was going to be late.
Finally she exchanged the shoes and returned home.
Later that same day the paramedic supervisor who arrived on scene contacted her to see if she could nominate Bazinet for the Vital Link Award.
The Vital Link Award is presented to citizens by BC Emergency Health Services, who save a life by successfully performing CPR.
Bazinet was given the award in a socially distanced ceremony at Maple Ridge Park on Oct. 8.
Bazinet is surprised at all the attention she is getting.
“Everybody around me seems to think that it was this big heroic effort,” but Bazinet feels she doesn’t deserve so much recognition.
“It’s something as a nurse, it’s part of my job. I just can’t imagine not helping somebody in need,” she said.
“It’s almost like my duty.”
Wyatt Bazinet was born on July 21.