By Mike Foster
It was a typical Saturday in March 2017 when a 46-year-old man collapsed on the ice while playing recreational hockey at the Minto Sports Complex.
Yves Goyette, University of Ottawa assistant operations manager, was doing some paperwork when a spectator told him a player needed urgent medical attention. Emergency services had already been called, but Goyette reacted within seconds, rushing to the side of the unconscious man.
Suddenly, the victim stopped breathing. Goyette radioed for an automated external defibrillator and, with help from some of the players, began CPR.
By the time paramedics arrived, the victim had regained his pulse and was breathing on his own.
On March 22, nearly one year after the incident, the Lifesaving Society recognized Goyette and his quick action with a Rescue Award of Merit at an event at Ottawa City Hall.
“I think the best way to describe it is the conscious part of my brain went on holiday and I went on autopilot,” said Goyette. “I just reacted. The whole thing lasted about seven minutes but it felt like an hour.”
Goyette said his Lifeguarding Society’s Standard First Aid certification and adrenalin kicked in.
“He’s an angel,” said the now fully recovered Paul Dogra, the player who had suffered a blocked artery. “You just never know. I remember seeing Goyette all the time at the rink but I had never introduced myself. It’s amazing that he ended up being my angel.”
As a gesture of thanks, Dogra has invited Goyette to play hockey with him at an Ottawa Senators Foundation charity event on April 5.
Two uOttawa students also received Rescue Awards of Merit. Maggie Stobo, a third-year student in human resources management at the Telfer School of Management, saved an infant boy from choking while on holiday in Mexico in June 2017. Stobo had to fend off a crowd of agitated bystanders who didn’t understand that the back blows and compressions she was performing were meant to save the child. Catherine Corriveau, a fourth-year Faculty of Social Sciences student in conflict studies and human rights, intervened to help a man having a seizure on a bus, holding his head and making sure that he was breathing until emergency services arrived.
As well, uOttawa alumnus Brian Schmidt (BEd ’98) received the Rescue Award of Merit for saving two canoeists from drowning in the Ottawa River.