Questions raised after Vancouver casino refuses to lend out defibrillator following cardiac arrest

A man in distress was denied the use of an Automated External Defibrillator because he wasn’t a patron. Ted Chernecki explains the casino’s stand and whether that raises concerns.

An incident in downtown Vancouver over the weekend is raising questions around access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs), a potentially life-saving device that can restart the heart following sudden cardiac arrest.

Early Sunday morning a group of friends reportedly came across an unconscious man in a downtown parking lot.

They called a 911 dispatcher who said an ambulance was on the way and told one of them to go to the nearby Edgewater Casino in the Plaza of Nations and grab their AED.

“With each minute that passes without defibrillation, the chance of survival decreases by seven to 10 per cent,” Shelley Parker of the Heart and Stroke Foundation said. “Getting CPR happening right away, using that AED, is critical.”

First, a casino doorman refused to hand over the device. A manager also refused, saying the victim wasn’t on casino property.

“In British Columbia you’re not required to respond to an emergency,” Parker said. “If you lived in Quebec, for example, you are required to respond to somebody in a medical emergency.”

“We would encourage all businesses and venues that have an AED to register their device.”

WATCH: Shelley Parker of the Heart and Stroke Foundation talks about the rules and regulations around access to automatic defibrillator equipment.

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