Cable technician's quick action likely saved a life
What could have been a tragic Christmas for a Langley family, remained a time of celebration and gratitude, thanks to the quick actions of a stranger.
Shaw Cable technician Paul Schulli had come to David and Marianna Sibley’s home to set up a new high definition television box.
But when David suddenly had a heart attack and collapsed, Schulli rushed to the 79-year-old man’s side and performed life-saving CPR.
Had it not been for Schulli’s swift actions, David would likely not be alive today.
And for that, his family is calling Schulli a hero.
“It seems like everyone is being called a hero today, but there are heroes and then there are real heroes. Paul is a real hero,” said David’s daughter, Linda Sibley.
“He didn’t panic, he just did what he needed to do.”
Linda was at work in her office in New Zealand when she heard that her dad had suffered a stroke and was in a coma.
She hopped on a flight that night and was by her father’s side the next day.
“Paul has given me faith in humanity again. It made me feel very grateful,” she said.
As Schulli arrived at the Langley residence on the morning of Dec. 20, David was telling his wife that he wasn’t feeling well.
“I feel really tired, like I want to go back to bed,” Marianna recalls him saying to her as they watched Schulli set up.
Minutes later, Marianna was in the kitchen when she heard someone exclaim, ‘Oh.’ She turned to see Schulli supporting her collapsed husband and lowering him to the floor.
She immediately called 911 and shouted instructions to Schulli, who performed CPR for more than 10 minutes until a fire truck arrived.
This was the first time Schulli, a Surrey resident, had ever performed CPR in a real-life emergency.
“As soon as he stopped breathing, I knew I had to do CPR,” Schulli said. “It was a scary situation, I was scared that this guy was going to die.”
David was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster where he remained in a coma for two days and on life support for three. He is still in hospital, regaining strength and on the road to recovery.
“He saved my husband’s life, he is just wonderful,” Marianna said.
Linda is in awe of Schulli’s actions.
“So many people could have gone, ‘Holy sh**, I’m out of here,’ but Paul didn’t,” she said. “My mother was screaming the instructions at him yelling ‘faster,’ ‘harder,’ ‘one, two, three’ and Paul just kept going.
“He never stopped, not for one minute.”
It’s just part of Schulli’s character to react the way he did, said Randy Harder, Shaw operations manager for East Valley.
“Paul is just that type of guy — he is a family guy, good natured, jovial, conscientious, and hard working,” he said.
“I was shocked when I heard what happened. I wondered to myself if I would have done the same. He made the best decision possible.”
Greg Schollon, Shaw’s regional manager for Vancouver says everyone at Shaw is very proud of Schulli.
“We were just so impressed that he took on a customer in distress,” he said.
Schulli is also being commended by members of the Langley community.
Kathleen Johnson, manager at Nature’s Fair Markets, heard of the incident from a customer and hand delivered a gift basket to Schulli’s work.
“It’s an amazing story,” she said. “It’s incredible — that’s going the extra mile.”
But Schulli admitted he is “a little embarrassed,” when he hears all the praise.
In the heat of the moment, all he was concerned about was whether or not David would survive.
“I don’t think of myself as a hero, paramedics and firefighters do this everyday, they are the real heros,” he said.
“I wasn’t about to just let someone else’s husband, dad, brother die in front of me. I just did the best I could.”
'Bystander CPR' offers best shot at survival
Rushing to David Sibley’s side and immediately starting CPR as the 79-year-old man was having a heart attack was the best move Paul Schulli could have made, says Stephen Clinton, executive director of dispatch operations for BC Ambulance Service.
Even if someone has never given CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and doesn’t know how, “it’s always best to do CPR,” he said.
“It’s important for the patients in these situations to get care and treatment right away.”
When someone is in cardiac arrest, the victim is four times more likely to survive if they receive bystander CPR.
Dialing 911 and speaking to a dispatcher is a critical step in the process. They will go through the proper procedures with people on the scene, and ensure the victim is getting the best care possible before paramedics arrive.
“I can’t emphasize how important it is to start doing CPR as soon as [cardiac arrest] happens. The quicker the heart gets assistance the better,” Clinton said.
And yet, statistics provided by BC Ambulance Service show that only 15 per cent of bystanders actually provide CPR. Clinton says this is often due to a lack of training or a lack of confidence.
“This is where the dispatch instructions really come into their own, because you don’t need to know, you don’t need to be trained, and they will help you with the confidence. Our dispatchers are trained to help people understand how to carry it out.
“Most people who call 911 are in the most stressful situation they have been in in their entire life. We try to help them calm down so they are in a position to carry out instructions,” he said.
On average dispatchers across the province receive seven cardiac arrest calls per day, and roughly 50 per cent of them occur in the home.
This is why Clinton believes it is crucial for people to take it upon themselves to get trained.
“I think it’s really important. It’s almost like giving blood, people should really do it, but sometimes they’re a little bit scared,” he said.
“Imagine the feeling of learning CPR and being able to assist your loved one. It’s a very beneficial thing to bring to your family.”