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July, 2016

Merit Award - Josee Ostrosser

On New Year’s Day, Josee Ostrosser, a 2nd year Athletic Therapy student from Camosun College was at friend’s house where friends and family were playing ice hockey on a frozen lake. Josee had finished skating for the day and was trying to keep warm by a fire in the -20C weather.

Although Josee didn’t see what had happened she heard people yelling and her friend calling for someone to dial 911. Josee and her friend, a 3rd year nursing student, ran to the commotion.

The pair saw that a friend’s dad was convulsing on the ice. Initially, Josee thought this man was having a seizure and instructed someone to support Neil’s head from hitting the ice. As Josee got closer, she could see that something else was very wrong.

The nursing student immediately checked for but could not feel a radial pulse. Josee checked the airway and did not see anything. She then felt for a carotid pulse, which was very faint and erratic. His breathing rate was also very slow at only one breath every 15 seconds. Josee took control of the situation and relayed the information to the 911 operator.

The nursing student began a round of 600 compressions, as instructed by the 911 operator while Josee stayed on the line reporting that there was obvious facial discolouration around the eyes and ears. Blood began to flow from Neil’s nose, and there was fluid in his ears. Josee was unsure if this was cerebral spinal fluid, or just melted snow.

After a couple hundred compressions, Josee and the nursing student switched positions. As Josee continued performing compressions, Neil began to vomit. Josee instructed for the nursing student to turn his head and sweep his mouth with her fingers ensuring his airway remained clear.

Josee and her friend began 2-person CPR with Josee giving compressions and her friend giving breaths. After a few rounds of compressions, the pair switched roles. The pair continued 2-person CPR for 30-35 minutes. During this time Josee effectively convinced all bystanders to go inside where it was warm and so they would not be distracting, as things were not looking very optimistic for Neil.

When EMS arrived, they immediately applied an AED, Neil was shocked twice before his pulse returned. Neil was taken by ambulance to the hospital and sent directly into surgery. Josee and the others at the cabin received a phone call about an hour later that Neil had passed away. He had suffered from a massive brain aneurism; his only chance of survival would have been if he had been in the operating room at the time of the aneurism.

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