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Rama paramedic efforts bring 14-year-old girl back from death

‘It’s career-changing to find out that girl survived’: Paramedic
2019-08-22 Paramedics JO-001
From left, Marci, Dan, Amanda and Rama paramedic Feeby Sidhorn. Contributed image

(Editor’s note: To protect the privacy of the patient, family members have requested last names not be used in this story, and for the patient’s first name to be changed. OrilliaMatters has agreed to honour this request.)

RAMA — Many times, when a patient is passed off from first responders to hospitals, first responders are left not knowing what happened to their patient.

In one recent local case, the outcome was, luckily, a positive one.

Rama Paramedics, along with staff with Rama First Nation Fire and Rescue, recently managed to resuscitate a 14-year-old patient in their care who had been attending a local summer camp, saving her life.

Dan’s daughter Amanda attended the summer camp this year in Rama. He said after lunch on July 23, she started saying to fellow campers she wasn’t feeling well.

“I think she just dropped,” said Dan. “From what I know, fortunately there was another 14-year-old girl in her cabin who knew CPR and she immediately began to perform CPR. I know that it it wasn’t for this girl, the outcome could have been very different.”

Dan said the camp was well-equipped, with one councillor immediately calling 911 and another running to grab the medical kit.

Feeby Sidhom and Laura Rimmer are the two Rama paramedics who attended the scene.

“We walked into the cabin to find a young girl laying on the floor and two bystanders performing CPR,” said Rimmer.

Rimmer said her vital signs were absent upon their arrival.

“I started ventilating her, and Feeby and one of our Rama firefighters immediately took over CPR and connected her to our cardiac monitor,” said Rimmer.

After three rounds of CPR, Rimmer said a heart rhythm could be detected, making Amanda “shockable.” The paramedics shocked her twice, and finally were able to detect a pulse and breathing. Amanda was then transported to Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital.

“Getting the phone call was a blur. Everything was a blur,” said Dan.

Amanda was transferred via a helicopter to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto where she stayed for multiple tests to determine what exactly has occurred.

“Our daughter has always been healthy. What (the doctors) think happened, the one thing they couldn’t conclusively rule out is a viral infection, or viral myocarditis,” said Dan.

For her recent follow up appointment with her doctor at Sick Kids, Dan said Amanda’s health is back to normal.

“There’s been a 100 per cent full recovery,” he said.

On Aug. 2, Dan, his wife Marci and Amanda visited Rama paramedics with croissants from a Toronto bakery to show their appreciation for their efforts, also stopping in at OSMH.

“It’s really hard as a medic to have someone say they appreciate what we did. It’s a job,” said Rimmer. “We had no idea what the outcome was. We got her to the hospital alive, but who knows what happens after that?”

“To find out after two weeks of struggling with that call that she was alive and doing well... it’s career-changing to find out that girl survived,” she said.

Rimmer said the uncertainty of what happens to patients after they leave the ambulance can sometimes weigh heavily on first responders.

“It’s the hardest part of our job. I would say, 95 per cent of the time, on a difficult call such as this, we don’t know what happened, and you just live with the wondering,” said Rimmer. “So when a family reaches out, it means the world to us.”

“These are the calls that stick with all of us. No one wants to think about a 14 year old losing their life. To know she’s continuing on with her life is just the best thing ever,” she added. “The message around this call is... early CPR saved her life. The fact that people knew what to do at that camp right away, that’s the most important thing.”

Dan said he was surprised at the kindness of all the first responders and agencies he came in contact with locally in dealing with Amanda’s health scare.

“When this happened, the OPP was involved as well. I met the officer at the hospital. He asked me a couple of questions,” said Dan. “What’s interesting is, a couple of weeks later he just called out of the blue to see how everything was.”

“I think it just speaks to the type of people we have working in these emergency services serving the public. We were just really touched by it,” said Dan.

“Words can’t describe how grateful we are. I think their professionalism and heroism should be acknowledged,” he added.


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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen is an experienced journalist working for Village Media since 2018, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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