Coast Guard gives senior emergency health care
Colleen Kelly comments: Picturesque McCallum is an isolated fishing community on the south coast of Newfoundland in the Coast of Bays region. There are no roads in McCallum and the only way to travel there is by the coastal ferry Terra Nova, which leaves from the community of Hermitage-Sandyville. Photo sent in by Colleen Kelly.
A 77-year-old woman who believes she suffered a stroke in the isolated south coast community of McCallum wound up getting medical help from the Canadian Coast Guard.
Flora Feaver said she was at a friend's house on the evening of Nov. 8, playing cards, when she felt numbness in her hands. She said she attempted to stand but collapsed on the floor.
She said her son Riley arrived quickly and helped her get back to her home around 11 p.m., but he could see she was in need of medical attention.
No road access to McCallum
McCallum is only accessible by water. There was no ferry near McCallum at the time and no doctor available, so they turned to another option for help.
The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Vladykov had been doing water sampling around the area that day and had tied up in McCallum for the night.
"My son went down and spoke to them and it wasn't long before two (coast guard personnel) came up to the house," Feaver told CBC's Fisheries Broadcast.
Chief Officer Brock Thimot and cook/seaman Paul Ivany, who happened to be the two rescue specialists on board the vessel at the time, assessed Feaver as potentially having had a stroke or heart condition.
"They monitored my blood pressure and vital signs and oxygen. They were here doing that for about a half hour and they said, 'I think we better take her, I think we better go,' " Feaver recalled.
While Thimot and Ivany had been looking after Feaver in her home, Commanding Officer Brad Durnford was back on the ship in contact with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Center in Halifax. Based on the medevac options available, the decision was made to transport Feaver to Hermitage aboard the Vladykov.
Off to Hermitage
Feaver, along with her son and husband Clyde, were brought aboard the vessel. She said the treatment she received on the vessel, especially from Thimot and Ivany, was exemplary.
"They sat me in a nice comfortable chair, and they stayed there, they monitored me just like they did at the house," she said. "They stayed with me to make sure I wasn't afraid. They were really good, I must say."
Around 1 a.m. on Nov. 9, Feaver was met on the wharf in Hermitage by an ambulance, and she was taken to Harbour Breton for treatment.
A spokesman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada credited "the experience and knowledge of the CCGS Vladykov crew and the quick communication and decision-making of the SAR controllers at the rescue co-ordination center" for the successful medevac.
Feaver has since returned to her home in McCallum where she said she's "up around the house doing what I can" as she recovers from her recent health scare.
But, she said she won't forget the help she got from the Coast Guard ship and personnel in her time of emergency.
"They were in the right place at the right time. Many thanks, especially to Brock and Paul. They stayed with me the whole time. They were the best. I want to give thanks to those guys and the skipper and the crew for being so kind and everything," said Feaver.
"I was lucky that boat was here."