A woman who suffered a heart attack while swimming at the Penticton Community Centre pool in January is back home and recovering.
Lori Mullin, the city’s recreation manager, said staff have been in touch with the woman, who returned home in mid-February after spending about 10 days in Penticton Regional Hospital and then being airlifted to Victoria, where she had a cardio defibrillator implanted.
“She is looking forward to returning to work and the pool, but will be making her comeback slowly as she learns how much activity she can safely undertake,” said Mullin. “She is walking lots and is eager to watch her daughter graduate from Grade 7 and her 16-year-old son get his driver’s licence this spring.
“She articulated very clearly that these precious moments wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the excellent response and early treatment she received from the aquatic staff.”
On Jan. 15, lifeguards at the pool realized that one of the swimmers was in distress. When they got to her, she was unresponsive and removed from the pool; 911 was called, her vital signs were assessed, staff began CPR and connected her to the facility’s automated emergency defibrillator.
Multiple shocks were administered by the pool staff, said Mullin, and more by emergency services personnel when they arrived before they transported her to PRH.
The staff members on duty that night—Madison Head, Graeme Naish, Garret Naish, Michelle Jones, Diane Phillips and head guard Lisa O’Daly—were honoured as Hometown Heroes on Monday by Penticton city council.
Mullin said that though the community centre staff trains to handle these kind of emergencies, they aren’t typical of their daily duties.
“Aquatic staff on duty that evening demonstrated incredible skill and teamwork managing the emergency, from the first responders who conducted the first aid to the staff that shut down the pool, cleared the pool equipment quickly and efficiently to the staff who supported the unsettled patients who witnessed the traumatic incident,” said Mullin. “The team initiated quick action, effectively executed procedures and professionally managed all aspects of this medical emergency.”
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said it was one of the great jobs being on council to celebrate heroic actions of people like this group.
“It is great that we have a training program in place that no matter who is on shift it can be handled and handled swiftly and with good results,” said Jakubeit.