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Borys' Story

Help is just around the corner: how Borys survived cardiac arrest.
The evening of July 11, 2019 was like any other for Shelburne resident Borys. He had been doing some work around the house and on his car, nothing out of the ordinary. Around 9:00 pm he was winding down for the evening and was having some indigestion, so he went downstairs to the kitchen, got a glass of milk and sat down in his chair to watch TV. His wife, Janet was in the next room. Without warning, Borys collapsed. What follows is a phenomenal story of first responders and how their everyday work changed the life of Borys and his family.

As soon as Janet noticed her husband had collapsed, she immediately called 9-1-1. When asked what went through her mind during this moment Janet explained she frantically thought to herself “What do I do?” Her Husband lay motionless – she had to think fast.

Borys and Janet live adjacent to the Shelburne ambulance station, so Janet decided to run across the road for additional help. When she ran outside, her neighbour Cory, an off duty West Grey Police Officer, noticed her and quickly jumped into action. He began CPR as they waited for the first responders to arrive, but Borys remained unresponsive.

Dufferin County Paramedics, Sim and Mike, were the first to arrive on the scene and initiated treatment along with the support of the Shelburne Police Department and Shelburne Fire Department. It was discovered that Borys had a heart attack and technically died in that very chair. They began defibrillation and thankfully the first responders were able to successfully resuscitate him.

The paramedics then transported Borys to Southlake Regional Health Centre where he underwent a procedure called PCI – Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, which they inserted five stents into the affected vessels. When Borys awoke, he looked up at his wife and laughed “So where have you been?” Even after such a frightening experience Borys has continued to be his positive and witty self.

While he was in hospital, Janet found it difficult to look at his empty chair. Although it was in perfectly good condition, she asked to have it removed and stored it in Cory’s garage until they could sell it or give it away. Five days after his operation Borys was discharged and has since been doing well at home. Janet said that when Borys returned home without his favourite chair he was so upset that they eventually told him where it was and brought it back.

After this experience Borys and his family expressed a desire to recognize those that responded on July 11, to convey their gratitude for the efforts to save his life. Borys does not remember much from that day however, he mentioned he was “In awe of the first responders, they didn’t miss a beat.” The reason he can still crack jokes at home with his family is due to the first responders who seamlessly worked together as a unit to revive him.

Mike, one of the paramedics that helped resuscitate Borys, was thrilled to have such a positive outcome in this story. He discussed “In almost 20 years of being a Paramedic and going through the motions of past cardiac arrests without good outcomes, having someone with Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC) and being discharged with no loss in neurological function is an amazing feat.”

Although Borys is at the centre of this story, he feels passionately that the true story is about the amazing work of the first responders. He laughed and explained, “When you win at a slot machine people ask –what did you do? And all you did was put a quarter in it. All I did was lay on the floor.” As his wife Janet spoke of the ordeal, she simply stated “He’d be gone if it weren’t for them.” They both acknowledge how lucky they were that first responders were close enough to get to him during the critical first moments.

Borys said “I can't thank everyone enough for saving my life. After my surgery at Southlake I was transferred back to Headwaters for follow-up care. All my care has been extraordinary.” 
Throughout this process Borys was inspired to donate in honour of each first responder to the charity of their choice. The three recipients of the donation were Headwaters Health Care Foundation, Southlake Foundation, and Special Olympics Ontario. Borys felt as though he had to do something positive in the community. He wants to inspire others to give back and to not take for granted the challenging work that the first responders do every day.

We are thankful our first responders are a part of this wonderful story and wish Borys and his family health and happiness.