On January 21, 74-year-old Pierre Brisebois was shopping at the Food Basics in Rockland when he collapsed in the middle of the produce area. Austin Dollimont was nearby and went over to offer his assistance, thinking that Brisebois had simply fallen over. Instead, he found that Brisebois wasn’t breathing and had no heartbeat, having suffered a heart attack right there in the grocery store.
“I thought I was going to come help you up,” he said. “And then it got really serious.”
Dollimont instinctively fell back on his first aid training. He performed CPR on the man for nearly 10 minutes until paramedics arrived, at which point they restarted Brisebois’s heart with a defibrillator and loaded him into the ambulance. Brisebois says he has no memory of the event, recalling nothing until he awoke in the hospital.
“They told me I was in front of the banana stand,” Brisebois said. “Even if you asked me from here to there, I have no clue. It’s a blank.”
Brisebois was taken to the Heart Institute at the University of Ottawa, where a speedy recovery soothed the minds of friends and family. According to Louis Trudeau, a friend of Brisebois, he opened his eyes and moved his limbs that same day; by Sunday, he was awake and communicating, although sluggishly.
“He’s doing very well, the heart institute did an amazing job,” said Trudeau. “We’re all ecstatic, no permanent brain damage. He’s back home as of the fifth of February.”
Brisebois is very grateful that Dollimont was nearby and offered his help, but Dollimont says it was a stroke of luck he was even in the store to begin with. Although he used to live in Rockland and worked at that same store, he moved away five years ago, and he was only in the area because he purchased a house in the area with his fiancée. He was in the right place at the right time, completely by coincidence.
“For me to go into that store is very unlikely,” Dollimont said.