‘Coincidental role,’ says N.L. health minister who used CPR to save man’s life


Saving a man’s life may for some be considered an act of heroism, but one Newfoundland and Labrador politician is downplaying his action, and instead hopes to spur others to get live-saving training like CPR.

‘You never know when these things are going to occur.’ – Health Minister John Haggie

“My role was really just coincidental,” said John Haggie.

On Sunday, the minister of Health and Community Services was enjoying a plate of fish and brewis at the Gander Legion, as part of the Festival of Flight.

As Haggie puts it, “a gentleman attending collapsed and needed CPR.”

John Haggie-Waterford

John Haggie says CPR is a vital skill that anyone can obtain. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

‘Without a pulse’

Though Haggie was reluctant to talk about his role in the incident, he did say the man didn’t have a pulse and was unresponsive.

‘Fortunately, the outcome was good.’ – Health Minister John Haggie

Haggie, a former surgeon who is well-trained in life support, knew what to do.

“You follow the routine as [per the] training in your basic life support. He was not responsive and didn’t have a pulse, and those are the two criteria to begin CPR,” said Haggie.

“Fortunately, the outcome was good.”

Haggie said the man was alert and speaking by the time he was taken to the hospital.

Everybody should consider training

While Haggie downplayed his role, he emphasized that CPR is an important skill that anybody could obtain.

CPR demo in Edmonton

John Haggie hopes this incident will spur others to obtain life-saving training. (CBC )

“To have a little bit of background, a little bit of training to be able to recognize that this is not a simple situation, an ordinary thing, and to be able to manage it,” said Haggie.

“I think those are things that people should really consider having in their back pocket because you never know when these events are going to occur.”

He adds that training is available through the Canadian Red Cross, the St. John Ambulance and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.