ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A British Columbia driver earned his Highway Angel wings due to his CPR skills.
Vijaydeep Sahasi of Surrey drives for Bison Transport Inc. In August, he was on Highway 5, just outside of Merritt, B.C. when he was flagged down by a motorist whose car was parked on the side of the road.
The motorist told Sahasi that he thought his wife was having a heart attack, which prompted Sahasi to place a 9-1-1 call. While on the line with the emergency operator, Sahasi checked on the wife, who was still belted into the passenger’s seat. As she seemed unresponsive, the operator instructed Sahasi to remove the woman from the car and place her flat on the ground.
Then, even though he had no training in the technique, the operator instructed Sahasi to begin performing CPR. Despite being nervous and worried about the possibility of injuring the woman, Sahasi followed the instructions given to him by the operator who walked him through the life-saving process.
It took half-an-hour before the first emergency workers were able to arrive at the scene and during that time, Sahasi continued to administer CPR because the woman repeatedly started and then stopped breathing. Before the paramedics got to the site, a few other motorists and bystanders had happened by but they declined to offer Sahasi any relief by taking over CPR duties, even when he asked for help.
While the woman was being loaded into the ambulance, her husband hugged Sahasi and expressed his extreme gratitude. The following day, the man called Sahasi to say his wife had survived and was doing well, with no cracked ribs or other significant problems as a result of the CPR. He also told Sahasi that a doctor at the hospital said him, “You’re really lucky your wife is alive, given that this happened in the middle of nowhere. Only about 2 per cent of people would survive cardiac arrest in such a remote location.”
Hearing that message was important to Sahasi.
“It made me feel so good that the doctor said I did [the CPR] perfectly,” he said. “If done it too lightly, the heart wouldn’t have started functioning. If I had done it 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.”
Sahasi is a relatively new trucker, having driven for over a year. Before that he was a school bus driver. He is also philosophical about his life-saving rescue.
“I believe that what goes around, comes around,” he said. “I was already running a little late, but destiny had planned something else for me that day.”
For his actions, the Truckload Carriers Assocation (TCA) named Sahasi a Highway Angel and presented him 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.
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