An RDN Transit driver’s muscle memory kicked in as he was able to resuscitate a woman who is suspected to have overdosed this morning.
Terry Keogh was driving a bus along his Regional District of Nanaimo Transit route, on the corner of Fitzwilliam Street and Wallace Street, at about 7 a.m. Friday, Jan. 22, when he noticed a group of people trying to flag someone down. After stopping his bus, he learned that a woman was unconscious and not breathing. A former emergency medical technician from Ireland, he called 911 and began performing CPR until paramedics arrived.
“One of the guys came up to me and asked me if I had a phone, I did, I asked why…somebody said there’s an overdose…” Keogh said. “She was unconscious, no level of consciousness at all, she was collapsed into a box, she wasn’t breathing, she was gulping for air.”
Keogh said he got the woman into a recovery position to establish an airway and with the assistance of people nearby, he was able to get and administer naloxone. They weren’t able to get her breathing or feel her heart so they began compressions and after two minutes, could feel her heartbeat.
“Another three minutes later the ambulance service came, with [fire rescue] and then the advance paramedics came along and they were able to diagnose her,” said Keogh. “Once they knew she had been given naloxone, [it was] just the waiting game … she regained consciousness then.”
Also a scuba diving instructor, Keogh said he has been doing first aid since he was a teenager. Everything came naturally and his “spider sense” kicked in, so to speak.
“Time is essential. It’s minutes if the brain doesn’t have oxygen,” said Keogh. “So for me, it’s essential to find out as much information as I can, as quick as I can, for establishing airways. It doesn’t matter what level of training. If you can do the very basic stuff, like establishing an airway … when the paramedics come, once they see somebody has done first aid, half the prayer is answered.”
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