A pair of brothers helped to save one of their closest friends while hiking in Mount Douglas Park.
Paul Kowalyk said his adult sons (both in their early 30s) and their respective girlfriends were hiking together early Saturday morning when their friend and roommate in his early 30s collapsed after the group had reached the top.
Kowalyk’s sons call 9-11 for assistance, but also use their paramedical training to help their friend. One of Kowalyk’s sons is a firefighter with the Victoria Fire Department, while the other has also completed CPR training.
Saanich Fire Department and BC Ambulance Service responded to the scene, with the friend receiving defibrillator treatment at one stage. Crews credited Kowalyk’s sons for preventing far worse.
“The ambulance guys said, ‘if you guys were not there, he would have been dead,’” said Kowalyk. “He would have been dead.”
The friend is recovering at a local hospital, said Kowalyk, who described him as “feeling better” following the incident. While the cause of the friend’s collapse remains under investigation, Kowalyk said his sons’ friend has had a history of heart problems, having had open-heart surgery in his early 20s.
Physicians treating the friend are currently reviewing his history, said Kowalyk.
“Bottom-line is, if they weren’t there, he wouldn’t be around today.”
Notably, all three played (albeit not together) lacrosse for the Victoria Shamrocks. “They are well-built kids and they are strong.”
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