The last thing that Murray Forbes remembers on what was almost a fateful day is stepping out of his car on the UBC Okanagan campus.
He woke up days later in hospital with a new pacemaker and several broken ribs, yet alive.
Forbes is not your typical student – the 77-year-old had always had a hankering to go back to school and earn an engineering degree, so he did it.
He had previously had two heart attacks. On this particular day, he was found unconscious in the school courtyard after his third.
Luckily, a trio of students, all members of the school’s Emergency First Responder Team (EFRT), were quick to the scene.
The first of the three to reach Forbes happened upon the man completely by accident. Marissa Burfield was walking through the courtyard on her way to breakfast with fellow EFRT member Kim Davarani.
She quickly took control of the situation.
Davarani was there not long after, responding to the call. The EFRT team, as part of their first aid training, are required to be on call for 12 hours a week.
“I was relieved to find Marissa had taken control of the situation,” said Davarani. “People thought it was a seizure, but when I started taking the vitals and checking his circulation, I realized this is no longer a seizure call. This was about to become a very intense call.”
Morgan Tucker, a senior member of the EFRT, then joined in on the call. Together, along with the help of some other students, they performed CPR and used an automatic external defibrillator.
“We all did our jobs and we didn’t give up,” said Tucker. “I never imagined I would be using the skills I have to save a life. I am so thankful we have them.”
Once out of the hospital, Forbes and the EFRT members were all able to meet up. The members were given a letter of commendation by UBCO Principal Lesley Cormack.
“It was like a happy ending and usually there isn’t a happy ending,” said Burfield. “It was so great to see him.”
The man with a new lease on life is expected to make a full recovery and continue his education.