WOMAN SURVIVES CARDIAC ARREST WITH HELP OF TCA HIGHWAY ANGEL
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) recognizes Vijaydeep Sahasi of Surrey, British Columbia, a professional truck driver for Bison Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a Highway Angel.
On the afternoon of August 22, 2014, Sahasi was travelling westbound on a remote stretch of Highway 5 just past Merritt, British Columbia. He saw a car parked on the side of the highway and an older man trying to flag him down. Sahasi began to slow, but could not stop safely until further ahead because he had already begun to descend a hill. In his rearview mirror, he could see that the man was now flashing his lights. When he finally stopped, the man sped his vehicle forward, stopping in front of Sahasi.
The man told Sahasi that he thought his wife was having a heart attack. Sahasi called 911 and rushed to the car, where he saw that the wife was still strapped in her seatbelt in the front passenger seat. She seemed unresponsive. The 911 operator said to remove the woman from the car and lie her down on the ground. While Sahasi and the husband did this, they attempted to flag down other vehicles, but no one stopped. Sahasi had never done CPR before and was nervous, knowing that in some cases, amateurs performing CPR have broken the victims’ ribs or caused other injuries due to inexperience. However, the 911 operator was very good, talking him through the procedure step by step.
During the 30 minutes it took for first responders to arrive, the woman repeatedly started and then stopped breathing. Sahasi never gave up, even when his own body became very sore from the physical exertion that it took to make the compressions. When a few bystanders approached to see what was happening, Sahasi asked them if they could take over, but they declined. Finally, paramedics arrived and took over.
As the wife was being loaded onto the ambulance, her husband hugged Sahasi and expressed his extreme gratitude for what he did. The next day, he called to say she had survived and was doing well, with no cracked ribs or other significant problems as a result of the CPR. He said that a doctor at the hospital told him, “You’re really lucky your wife is alive, given that this happened in the middle of nowhere. Only about 2 percent of people would survive cardiac arrest in such a remote location.”
“I believe that what goes around, comes around,” said Sahasi, a former bus driver who has now driven trucks for more than a year. “I was already running a little late, but destiny had planned something else for me that day.”
He continued: “It made me feel so good that the doctor said I did [the CPR] perfectly. If done too lightly, the heart wouldn’t have started functioning. If done too hard, her ribs might have been fractured. Neither happened, and it is really, really rewarding to know she survived. I never expected this [truck-driving job] would take me somewhere like this.”
For his act of kindness, TCA has presented Sahasi with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decal. Bison Transport also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.