OTTAWA – Darrell Parker and Dr. Corey Adams arrived separately to walk the Calgary Grassi Lakes trail with their families on June 20. The two men were strangers, but within days Adams saved Parker’s life. Twice.
Parker, sixty years old, was enjoying a walk with his family when he suddenly collapsed. He was having a heart attack.
Adams, a cardiac surgeon, was leaving the trail with his family when he heard calls for help. He and his wife, who is also a doctor, immediately took action.
“Darrell was passed out or unconscious beside the bench. We realized that he had no pulse and was really completely blue,” said Adams.
Adams, his wife and another walker performed CPR for the next 20 minutes until emergency response teams arrived with a defibrillator. At that point, they managed to get it back “back to normal pace,” said Adams.
While most of the stories ended there, these two men were surprised when just five days later, Adams had another chance to save Parker’s life.
Parker needed a quintuple deviation and was transferred to Foothills Medical Center in Calgary – the hospital where Adams works.
“I went to see Darryl and his family because we met on the spot. His wife and son recognized me and asked if I would have cardiac surgery,” said Adams.
“It kind of completed the whole circle.”
After the cardiac surgery Adams performed, Parker is expected to make a full recovery. He said the whole incident made him feel like “the luckiest person in the world”.
“Sometimes things work for us and I can’t be happier than it worked,” said Parker. “I think there is definitely more to it than what we actually see.”
According to Adams, Parker is very lucky – as cardiac arrests that occur outside hospitals are often fatal.
“Cardiac arrests outside the hospital or outside the hospital, the risks of not leaving it are very high. You need to have excellent CPR, excellent airway control, everything has to go to the right,” said Adams.
But for Parker, everything went well, and Adams was there to see from beginning to end. For the doctor, the moment was “career accomplished”.
“It lets you know that every year of work, and even on that weekend’s CPR course, is really worth it. You can really make a difference,” said Adams.
Parker hopes to return to the heart attack site for another hike next summer.
When that happens, Adams said he would consider joining him.
With files from Janet Dirks of CTV News and Kevin Green of CTV News Calgary