December 29, 2019 in Education, Training

Teen saves dad’s life

‘He was losing his heartbeat’: Windsor teen saves dad’s life with CPR learned 2 days earlier

Windsor teen and dad

Catholic Central High School student Turki Ayash, left, saved the life of his father Ahmad, right, by using CPR skills he learned in school. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

A Grade 11 student at Catholic Central High School in Windsor, Ont., used skills he’d learned in class only a couple of days earlier to save the life of his father during a heart attack.

Turki Ayash, who came to Canada with his Syrian refugee family three years ago, said he was taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) over two days as part of the physical education curriculum.

Two days after his CPR lessons — on a Saturday morning in November — Ayash sprung into action to lend aid to his 49-year-old father, Ahmed, who was having a heart attack.

“I just wake up and all my brothers are crying,” said Ayash. “I got to his bed, and he’s just on the bed … He was losing his heartbeat.”

Remembering what he learned in class, Ayash performed chest compressions to maintain his father’s blood flow.

Even though his father wasn’t breathing, first responders who arrived on the scene told Ayash his actions ensured his dad’s blood kept flowing.

Teen receives awardTurki Ayash, fourth from left, stands with members of Essex-Windsor EMS, including chief Bruce Kruater, in white. Jalil Khoury, Ayash’s physical education teacher, on the right, taught the Catholic Central High School student CPR. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Doctors later told Ayash that if he hadn’t performed CPR, his father wouldn’t have survived.

“They told me, ‘If I didn’t do CPR, he would be dead,'” Ayash said, adding he too credits the CPR lessons he learned for saving his father’s life.

Jalil Khoury, Ayash’s physical education teacher, said he got goosebumps during class on Monday when his student first told him what happened.

“It was a surreal moment to think what engaged with in class … came to fruition,” Khoury said. He said he always makes sure to preface CPR lessons by informing students they may need to use the skills they learn in a real-life situation.

Teen and teacher
Ayash, right, used CPR lessons taught by Khoury, left, just two days after training to help save the life of the Grade 11 student’s dad. (Tom Addison/CBC)

Now, Khoury said, he plans to use Ayash as an example whenever CPR lessons are taught.

“I will tell this story year after year … to stress the importance of learning first-aid CPR.”

In the meantime, Ayash said his father is on the road to recovery, after receiving a pacemaker during his time in hospital. Ayash said his father has even quit smoking to improve his health.

Listen to Turki Ayash and Jalil Khoury speak with Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette:

And the benefits for the family go beyond health.

On Wednesday, Ayash received a certificate from Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter.


CBC News · Posted: Dec 18, 2019 8:54 AM ET | Last Updated: December 18


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