Survivor’s Day recognizes patients who have had heart attacks and those who save them



From left: James Lavalee, B.J. Wilder, Mike Basinski, Adam Kidd.

From left: James Lavalee, B.J. Wilder, Mike Basinski, Adam Kidd.

By Ron Giofu


Paramedics, firefighters, police officers and others were among those recognized last Wednesday morning for their efforts in saving heart attack victims.

The third annual event, presented by Essex-Windsor EMS and the Southwest Ontario Regional Base Hospital, saw survivors and first responders recognized with the first responders credited for bringing “their A-game” during incidents that occurred in the 2012 calendar year.

One of the 29 heart attack resuscitations occurred at an Amherstburg grocery store and featured firefighters B.J. Wilder, Scott Riddell and Nick Renaud along with paramedics Mike Basinski, Adam Kidd and then-paramedic student James Lavalee.

The 68-year-old heart attack victim, who was not identified and not in attendance at the ceremony,

“We responded to a grocery store for a person that was down,” explained Wilder. “A bystander was doing CPR when several firefighters arrived. We performed CPR and EMS arrived. They were able to resuscitate him.”

The first responders couldn’t recall who the bystander was but credited that person for their efforts in beginning to deliver CPR.

“That’s vital,” said Wilder.

Lavalee believed it was a positive to have greater attention brought to CPR and the benefits of delivering it early to a patient.

“Time is life,” said Lavalee. “The quicker you get started on it, the better the outcome.”

Lavalee said he experienced similar situations but that was the first time the person survived. Wilder was the only firefighter able to attend the ceremony but he and the two other paramedics both said they had dealt with similar situations as well.

“It’s happened before,” said Basinski. “It’s not the first time.”

Receiving the honour was nice but not something the first responders seek when they go to work every day.

“It’s good to get the recognition but it’s not why we do it,” noted Basinski.

Although they haven’t had contact with the male heart attack victim since the incident, they understand he has recovered and the firefighters and paramedics are glad of that fact.

“We’re happy he’s doing well,” said Basinski.

Kidd noted that it is nice to have a solid relationship with the fire department and team with them on calls. Basinski added, “it’s nice to work in the town where you live,” adding many of the full-time paramedics in Amherstburg are still local.

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