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‘It’s a miracle:’ How two strangers saved a man’s life at Canadian Tire

Last Updated Dec 8, 2017 at 7:12 pm EST

Jacky Hutchison is looking to find the two strangers who saved his life so he can give them the “best bottle of scotch” he can afford.

The 70-year-old man was shopping with his wife when he had a cardiac arrest at a Canadian Tire store near Lake Shore Boulevard and Leslie Street last week.

Hutchison’s heart suddenly stopped beating and he collapsed. Thankfully, a pair of Good Samaritans jumped into action. A customer nearby immediately started administering CPR while a Canadian Tire employee used the store’s automated external defibrillator (AED).

“For those people who were there on the scene and started [CPR] within 30 seconds, absolutely amazing,” said Hutchison’s wife, Shirley Hutchison.

“That someone who was there knew CPR and was able to administer it immediately … It is a miracle he is here with his heart history.”

Hutchison was rushed to the hospital and remains in intensive care at Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General Hospital).

In the immediate aftermath of the cardiac arrest, Hutchison’s family was preparing for the worst.

“They had the priest; they had everybody,” said Hutchison’s son Jon Hutchison. “They were like, ‘You guys want to say your goodbyes.’

“But I was like. ‘He’s not dead. He’s not going to die yet — you know — just hoping and praying.”

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, more than 40,000 Canadians experience sudden cardiac events every year, and less than 10 per cent of people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive.

“I think the best takeaway is likely to be if you see someone suddenly collapse and they don’t respond, take action right away. Call 911,” said Andrew Lotto, senior manager of Resuscitation Operations at Heart and Stroke.

“If they’re not breathing normally … start compressions in the centre of the chest, fast and hard, to the beat of Staying Alive … and if there’s an [automatic external defibrillator] nearby, use it right away.”

Right now, there’s no legislation in Ontario requiring stores or shopping malls to be equipped with AEDs, but that’s something the Heart and Stroke Foundation would like to change.

“We’re really clear that AEDs should be as commonplace as fire extinguishers and they’re not that expensive,” Lotto said. “You could put an AED in just about every building … on every floor … for cheaper than you could equip that floor with fire equipment.

“So I think the idea is an AED in pretty much every public location should be the law.”

Meanwhile, Hutchison is hoping to thank the two men who saved his life. His family has reached out to Canadian Tire to find the employee and is hoping someone will know who the other Good Samaritan is and let them know.

How fortunate does Hutchison feel?

“Very fortunate,” he said. “That’s all my Christmas in one bag.”