On August 2, 2015, members of the Canadian Ski Patrol at Mt-Farlagne were providing first aid services for the annual Foire Brayonne 3-k, 5-k and 10-k race. By 10 a.m., the temperature was 23 C. With the humidity factored in, it felt more like 28.
Hearing a call for help, Eric Marquis ran over and noticed a runner sitting on a chair about 50 metres from the finish line. Moving towards the runner he called out to another patroller, Renée Rioux Marquis, to standby with the trauma stretcher. Eric saw that the patient appeared weak. His head was leaning forward and two bystanders were holding him up. Now closer, Eric recognized him. It was a student he had taught in high school. Continuing his assessment, Eric asked him what was going on. He couldn’t answer. He was out of breath and breathing heavily.
One bystander turned out to be the patient’s girlfriend who told Eric that her boyfriend had not felt good for the last few kilometres. Eric found his pulse was racing and respirations were so fast he was nearly hyperventilating. Eric tried to help the patient to slow his respirations and called for that trauma stretcher. The patient’s girlfriend poured water on him in an effort to cool him down. She then offered him some water with electrolytes. A few sips seemed to help but less than 30 seconds later he lost consciousness. They guided him to the ground and elevated his legs. Eric told another patroller, Marc, to call 911 and indicate they had an unconscious patient with possible severe heat stroke.
Still unresponsive, the patient’s pulse rate was now 176 beats per minute. The respiration rate was 40 breaths per minute and the pupils were very slow to react. Eric asked the girlfriend, who had identified herself as a respiratory therapist, to continue monitoring the pulse. Renée administered high-flow oxygen with a bag valve mask.
An AED and ice were called to the scene as the patient’s vitals continued to worsen. It was all hands on deck while the team waited for emergency medical services to arrive. Ice was placed on the patient’s neck, under the arm pits, and around his abdomen.
A few minutes later, three other patrollers, Mario Rossignol, Daniel Martin and Douglas Couture, arrived on the scene. Mario prepared the AED, just in case.
Suddenly, the patient regained consciousness. Very confused, and complaining he was cold, he wanted to take off the oxygen mask and get up. The team finally calmed him down and tried to coach him to slow down his breathing. A few minutes later, EMS arrived and the patient was transported to hospital.
An email from the patient’s sister was received a few days later. At first, her brother’s kidneys had stopped working and his liver was not in good shape. He was in intensive care for eight days and the family was told he was in serious danger. After that he recovered fully. The attending physician told the family that his life would have been in serious danger had it not been for the assistance he received on scene.
Congratulations to Eric Marquis, Renée Rioux Marquis, Marc Nadeau, Daniel Martin, Mario Rossignol and Douglas Couture.