In the News


Guelph restaurant hosts lifesaving equipment

Health care on the menu.           Rachel Psutka, Mercury Staff       Mon May 14 2012

Nicole Hogg, co-owner of Atmosphere Café, along with chef and general manager Shawn Gilbert are pleased to have a defibrillator on site at their Carden Street restaurant

GUELPH — When Paul McNab put his foot up on a baggage carousel at the airport after flying home from Florida in January 2011, he never expected it could be the last thing he would do.

Thanks to an automated external defibrillator and the work of emergency personnel, it wasn’t. The Richmond Hill man spent a month recovering in hospital, and his doctors told him the electrical fault that had happened in his heart would probably never happen again.

In December, McNab was driving home from a Toronto Maple Leafs game with his son Andrew and a family friend when his heart stopped once more.

“Emergency medical services defibrillated me three times,” McNab said. In hospital, McNab underwent surgery to become outfitted with an internal defibrillator, a small, battery-powered electrical impulse generator similar to a pacemaker. The device constantly monitors heart rhythm, automatically administering shocks for any life-threatening arrhythmias.

McNab credits his life to the use of the automatic external defibrillator, so he decided to donate one in case someone else someday needed the assistance he received.

That defibrillator is now mounted just inside the door on the wall of Atmosphere Café, a Carden Street restaurant owned by his son Scott McNab and daughter-in-law Nicole Hogg. A small red sign on the window alerts passersby to the lifesaving device’s presence.

“We’d been travelling back and forth to Guelph ever since the kids were at school,” said McNab. “Carden Street was kind of quiet, but the city has progressed with development of the area. There isn’t any other close defibrillator other than at City Hall, and I thought it was important to have one somewhere with longer hours.”

McNab also noted that with the winter skating rink and summer splash pad across the street, plus increased pedestrian traffic with the new bus terminal, the defibrillator is ideally located in the downtown core if a medical situation should arise.

“On a very logical level, we are a central location,” said chef and general manager Shawn Gilbert.

“Whatever’s going on outside that there aren’t defibrillators elsewhere, we have these crazy hours and we have it accessible,” said Hogg.

Hogg, along with most of the restaurant staff, underwent voluntary training through the Mikey Network, which also placed the defibrillator on site. The staff was certified on April 23.

“Having it in here I think is just an extension of trying to help the community,” said Hogg. “If we could help them live, then why not?”

Shawn Armstrong, the city’s director of emergencyservices, said public access defibrillators are also located in several locations throughout the city, including City Hall, the West End Community Centre, and Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre, among others. Armstrong said there are more on the way.

“We understand that there are 30 more sites within Guelph and Wellington County that will have an automatic external defibrillator placed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. I believe that will happen in 2012,” said Armstrong.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, about 7,000 Ontarians experience sudden cardiac arrest each year, the majority occurring either at home or in public places. Defibrillation, when used alongside CPR in the first few minutes, can improve cardiac arrest survival rates by more that 75 per cent.

“I’m very pleased to pay for it, have it installed, and have the staff trained,” said McNab, who covered around $3,000 in costs. “Just to have something there that will function if it needs to. Every second is critical.”