Brought back from dead, Mike Galbraith buys EMS another device

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Mike Galbraith doesn’t remember much beyond ending his shift on the ice.

When he got back to the bench at the Dorchester arena during an Oldtimers League game Feb. 27, his heart stopped and he fell to his side.

Teammates from Strathroy and opponents from Dorchester got him to the ice and someone used the automated external defibrillator (AED) at the rink to shock his heart back into beating.

His cardiac arrest was caused not by a blockage, but by ventricular fibrillation, a heart rhythm problem that has since required doctors to implant a small device called an internal cardioverter defibrillator.

“If there is no defibrillator around, nothing can save you,” Galbraith, 64, says.

With that in mind, the Sarnia resident donated $2,000 to Middlesex-London EMS Tuesday to buy another external defibrillator.

“That is the least I could do,” Galbraith said. “Goodness gracious, I had my life saved.”

The defibrillator at the Dorchester rink is one of the first the local EMS had installed in 2012, as part of its public access to defibrillation program, said Jay Loosley, education co-ordinator.

He and fellow paramedics Janis Harrison and Dawn Bowman got to the rink a few minutes after the call that February night.

Galbraith went back into cardiac arrest and the paramedics used their own defibrillator to bring his heart back.

With all the work they and hospital staff did, Galbraith was sitting up in his bed eating a sandwich within an hour after the incident, Loosley said.

“We had never seen anyone recover that quickly from cardiac arrest,” he said.

That’s the last time paramedics saw Galbraith until Tuesday, when he came to London to donate the money.

“It was really nice to meet him. We saw him when he was dead,” Loosley said.

Middlesex-London EMS is still finalizing where the defibrillator bought by the donation will be placed, he said. 

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