‘She’s my hero’

Springdale Country Manor health-care aide Marg Gregory (right) is praising her colleague, Karin Merpaw (left), for saving her during a choking incident in March. Gregory plans to nominate Merpaw for OMNI’s Everyday Hero award.

Springdale Country Manor health-care aide Marg Gregory (right) is praising her colleague, Karin Merpaw (left), for saving her during a choking incident in March. Gregory plans to nominate Merpaw for OMNI’s Everyday Hero award.

Springdale health-care aide plans to nominate co-worker for award after saving her during choking incident

SPRINGVILLE, Ont. – “She’s my hero.” This is how Springdale Country Manor health-care aide Marg Gregory describes personal support worker Karin Merpaw.

Sitting on a bench outside the Peterborough County long-term care home yesterday, Gregory recalls the Monday morning in March when she was eating a bowl of cereal in the home’s staff room. Suddenly, she began choking.

“All I remember was getting up and turning to Karin when I couldn’t breathe – I knew I was in trouble and that’s when she took over,” Gregory tells The OMNIway.

Merpaw, who has CPR training, first tried “back blows,” a first-aid technique where the person who is choking is repeatedly hit on the back to clear the airway. When that didn’t work, Merpaw used the Heimlich manoeuvre to successfully clear Gregory’s throat.

Merpaw says this was the first time she has ever had to put her training into action.

“Adrenaline just took over – it just all happened so fast,” she recalls.

Gregory says she plans to nominate Merpaw for OMNI Health Care’s Everyday Hero award, an accolade given out annually by the organization’s 18 long-term care homes to recognize staff members who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to residents and co-workers.

While Gregory cannot say enough good things about her colleague for an act that quite possibly saved her life, Merpaw, in true heroic fashion, downplays the incident.

“I tell her to stop calling me ‘hero,’” she chuckles. “To me, it’s no big deal.”

“Yes,” Gregory says, “but I could have been there all alone. I was fortunate that you were there.”

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.com.