Brother’s use of CPR to save teen sister ‘nothing short of a miracle,’ says IWK doctor

This Valentine’s Day is one that Logan Quinn and his little sister, Paige, will likely never forget.

Logan, 24, heard a thump in his sister’s bedroom and thought nothing of it. His only sibling probably dropped her phone, he thought, but after a few minutes he went to check on her.

Paige, 15, was unconscious on the floor of their home in Moncton, N.B. Her face was turning purple.

The Grade 10 student was in cardiac arrest.

“I kind of like touched her face, and her head just kind of flopped to the side, so I ran into my mom’s room,” Logan said in an interview outside the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. “I said, ‘She’s not breathing or moving.'”

She spent three weeks in hospital in Halifax. Logan and their mother were always close by. They slept in Paige’s room.

Logan Quinn and his mom slept in Paige’s room during her three-week hospital stay. (Robert Short/CBC)

That night was frantic. Their mom was “in shock and freaking out” crying out to Logan to call 911.

“I just went into, like, tunnel-vision mode, like, everything else just closed off,” he said. “You got to do something, you know?”

A 911 dispatcher instructed Logan to give his sister chest compressions. With no prior training, he pushed hard and fast on her counts. 

As he thrust his hands into her chest, over and over again, he told her to wake up.

“I didn’t want her to die,” he said, his eyes reddening as he thought about those nine agonizing minutes of CPR. He said it seemed to him to last forever.

Paige and Logan Quinn live with their mom in Moncton, N.B. (IWK)

But those actions kept Paige alive, and now Logan is sharing his family’s story to highlight CPR’s life-saving technique.

IWK doctors diagnosed Paige with a rare condition, Long Q-T syndrome, which causes chaotic, rapid heart beating and can lead to sudden death in severe cases.

Fortunately, it’s treatable. A defibrillator has been implanted in Paige’s chest, and she has medications.

She was released on Friday with a very good prognosis, said Dr. Santokh Dhillon, her IWK pediatric cardiologist.

The family got tested, and they’ve learned their mom has the same condition.

Now, the Quinns have the safety net of having a CPR-trained family. 

For every minute CPR is delayed, the risk of dying increases by 10 per cent.

Dr. Santokh Dhillion is a pediatric cardiologist and electrophysiologist. He says a cardiac arrest is an electrical issue with the heart. (Robert Short/CBC)

Those nine minutes of chest compressions by Logan were the difference between life and death, “amazing, basically nothing short of a miracle,” said Dhillon.

With many people in the Maritimes living in rural areas where paramedic response times can be longer, he’s urging everyone, even children as young as 10, to learn CPR.

He said the critical skill can be learned in as little as 90-seconds by watching a video by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

“We are generating lifesavers basically in the community,” said Dhillon.

Now at home, Logan is looking forward to putting his NBA video game skills to the test against Paige.

She remembers little of what happened that night, and they haven’t talked much about how he sprang into action. 

“It’s alright. I know, I don’t need to hear it. I just have a feeling [of gratitude], you know, we both love each other,” said Logan.

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