Patient meets paramedics who saved her life
On the evening of November 6, 2017, 51-year-old Constance Baran-Gerez got out of her hot tub, collapsed and died. During the chain of events that followed, paramedics brought her back to life.  Only four weeks after that horrible day, Constance got to meet the men and woman who saved her. 

Constance Baran-Gerez and her husband Donald meet the paramedics who saved her life

"Are you huggers?" asked Constance when the paramedics walked into her room at Providence Care. Without having to answer, the ensuing group hug ensued lasting several minutes. Constance has a few broken ribs, sustained from the CPR administered on her by the same people she's hugging, but that seems like such a minor detail now.

"Who are you?" she asked. One by one Alex, Andrew, Eric and Brit introduced themselves. They remember her under very different circumstances. Constance on the other hand remembers nothing of what happened that November evening.

Four weeks ago, on a chilly Monday night, Constance and her husband Donald were enjoying their backyard hot tub when Constance became unwell, got out of the tub and collapsed.

The 911 call came in at the Kingston Central Ambulance Communications Centre around 7 p.m. It was Donald reporting his wife had collapsed, adding that she was breathing at the time. 

The Frontenac Paramedic Services crew responded, coming from their Sydenham base, and when they arrived on the scene Constance was without vital signs. She was in cardiac arrest. Immediately they requested Advanced Life Support backup and began resuscitation efforts while at the same time preparing to transport their patient to Kingston General Hospital. CPR was started. Even Donald, who served in Kandahar in the Canadian military, helped with compressions on his wife. Moments later, Constance was secured on a stretcher and the ambulance hit the road, travelling with lights and sirens southwards to KGH.

By now, Hastings-Quinte paramedics who happened to be in the area were travelling north from Kingston. On board was an Advanced Care Paramedic trained to intubate, start an intravenous and give cardiac arrest medication such as epinephrine. 

It was only minutes after leaving the scene that the crews met eachother. The Hastings ambulance was locked and left on the side of the road. All four paramedics climbed into the FPS  ambulance and the journey to KGH continued. Teamwork and determination led to what paramedics refer to as a ROSC: Return of Spontaneous Circulation. Constance had a pulse.


What do you give a paramedic who saved your life?

"We're not sure what to give someone who saved a life," said Donald back at Providence Care. With a smile he pulls packs of Life Saver candies out of a bag and hands them to the medics. More hugs go around and tears flow. It doesn't happen all that often that paramedics meet with survivors but today everything felt just right. It was all hands on deck that night and this time the outcome couldn't have been better. 40,000 cardiac arrests happen each year in Canada and it is estimated that only one in 10 people survives a cardiac arrest that happens outside of a hospital. *

Upon arrival at KGH treatment followed in the Emergency Room. Later Constance continued her recovery in the Intensive Care Unit where she woke up for the first time the following day. Constance is now recovering in the cardiac rehab unit of Providence Care in great spirits, very grateful to be alive. Constance and Donald have decided to make a donation to the Paramedic Association of Canada Benevolent Fund on behalf of the paramedics who saved Constance.

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Constance Baran-Gerez and her husband Donald meet the paramedics who saved her life

Constance was given a FPS bear by paramedic Andrew Bourgon

Constance with Hastings-Quinte paramedic Brit Weidel