John Gallagher

by on January 18, 2014

Lightning Bolt Winners

The Bobcaygeon Local
June 18, 2010
By Lisa Dever

John Gallagher poses with his family and the first responders who saved his life

John Gallagher poses with his family and the first responders who saved his life

Huntsville resident John Gallagher is lucky to be alive. Last summer he suffered full cardiac arrest while visiting Bobcaygeon. On June 16, John and 23 other survivors had the opportunity to meet and thank the 160 care providers and civilians involved in saving their lives at the 2nd Annual Survivor Day ceremony in Peterborough.

John went from enjoying a lovely summer afternoon by the lock to full cardiac arrest in seconds. Teenage friends of his son who had recently completed a CPR course went to work on him as soon as he hit the ground. Two Lindsay physicians who happened to be boating close by saw what was happening and rushed to help.

Within seconds, the 911 call was received and through the efforts of Sylvia Taylor, Fire Rescue Dispatcher, and Communications Officers Paula Mogg, Patricia Lyons and Laurie McIntosh, Bobcaygeon EMS paramedics and volunteer firefighters were dispatched to the scene.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it can certainly be said that it takes a team to save a life. The group effort involved in saving the life of John Gallagher was one of precision, dedication and years of practice. Survivor day is more than just a chance for survivors and care givers to meet. It reminds us that scenes like the one at the lock last summer happen everywhere, everyday and that we should never underestimate the contribution of each and every participant.

We should also never underestimate the importance of civilians learning CPR, of public access defibrillators and a little extra luck.

When asked what the day meant to him and why he attended, John said “I had to come to thank them. I was dead and they brought me back”. With humble gratitude, the quiet man thanked the nine care givers who attended the event. He is a husband and father of three and soon to be a grandfather for a second time.

From the lock, John was taken by ambulance to Ross Memorial Hospital, with paramedics and firefighters working on him the whole time. He was then air lifted to Toronto. By the time his wife, Lynn, got to Toronto, the doctors were talking about a possible heart transplant and a survival rate of about 3%. John beat the odds though.

Paramedic Adam Martin, Station 3 Volunteer Firefighters Rob Cousineau, Scott Elder, Steve Dever and Chris Riggs all attended the event. They and the communication officers each received a “Lightning Bolt” pin and a certificate acknowledging their role in the saving of John Gallagher. They attended the event because they wanted to see John again, happy and healthy. “It was an honour to help,” they said.