Golf courses need defibrillators on hand

I died on the golf course. Yes, I had a heart attack while golfing. No warnings.

To the editor:

I died on the golf course. Yes, I had a heart attack while golfing.

No warnings. With the loss of oxygen to the brain all memory of the day, the week are gone.

I would not be reporting this event without being extremely fortunate two fellows who knew CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) were also golfing and volunteered their services.

They observed the patient, yours truly, was not breathing plus no pulse.

This golfer was finished…it appeared.

Bob Vedan

“I was first on the scene and found Ken  Henderson unresponsive, without a pulse and not breathing. I had someone call 911 on my cell phone and started CPR chest compressions on him immediately. I asked a golf course employee to get the defibrillators from the clubhouse and he informed me that they didn’t have one.

“Jim Lotwin arrived shortly and we continued with two men CPR until the ambulance arrived at which time they took over and used their defibrillator on him. This stabilized him and they took him to the hospital.

“Ken is a lucky man. I have met him, his wife, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter since. They are wonderful people and I feel humbled that we were able to help him in a situation that could have been much worse.

“It surprised me that the golf course did not have defibrillators. I’m hoping that changes. I’m hoping that Ken’s story encourages more people to become qualified in CPR. It saves lives.”

James Lotwin

“While playing at a golf tournament I was alerted by a fellow golfer that there was a golfer dead on the 12th hole. I thought that there was a chance that I could maybe give a hand as I had previous experience in this kind of thing.

“Upon arriving I observed several men looking at a man on the ground who was not breathing, had no pulse and his eyes were open and at the back of his head.

“He had been like that for a least 10 minutes and was clearly dead. There was one man, who I later learned to be Bob (Vedan), giving chest compressions so I began to try to give him oxygen.

That proved difficult as I could not get a proper seal over his mouth.

“I then remembered (from a CPR course) to tilt back his head and pinch off his nose. Quickly I was able to move my breath into his lungs as I saw his chest rise.

“It felt to me as we were one. As we continued to do CPR, to our surprise, Ken took a breath on his own which was very exciting and encouraging.

“With the sirens in the background I thought if we could just keep Ken taking a breath every once in a while, we might have a chance.

“The firefighters along with the ambulance arrived (seven-professionals in all) took over and worked on Ken for 20 to 30 minutes, bringing him around enough to transport him to the hospital where he was quickly operated on.

“I was fortunate to visit with Ken and his beautiful family and see firsthand how much he means to all of them.

“And for me, this was an incredible gift of a life time; to be able to help another come back to complete his journey that he came here for.

“Ken has made a complete recovery (at least from the first time I met him) and the three of us are going to play in that same golf tournament next year together.

“I don’t believe that this would have been possible if both Bob and I had not had some training in CPR. I also think that all places where public gather, especially seniors, an automatic defibrillator should be available.”

I strongly recommend an AED (Automatic External Defibrillation) at all golf courses considering the many seniors golfing in their retirement.

Plus, at least CPR training for all who work at these courses. As one very lucky guy, I plan to invest a few hours attending a CPR class this winter so that I would have the capability to help and possibly save a life. I feel it is the least I could do.

Ken Henderson,

West Kelowna

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