Dr. Corey Adams, with the Libin Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Calgary, performed five bypasses on Parker nine days after his heart attack, in a July 7, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Dr. Corey Adams, with the Libin Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Calgary, performed five bypasses on Parker nine days after his heart attack, in a July 7, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

‘Divine event:’ Surgeon who helped man after hike operates on him days later

Undergoes four-hour operation

CALGARY — A Saskatchewan man who had a heart attack after a hike in the Rocky Mountains says it was divine intervention that the same cardiac surgeon who helped resuscitate him near the trail would operate on him days later.

Darrell Parker, his wife, Shirley, and their son and daughter-in-law were hiking on June 20 at Grassi Lakes, a popular trail near Canmore, Alta.

Dr. Corey Adams and his family, who had recently moved to Calgary from St. John’s, N.L., were enjoying their first hike in the Rockies in that day along with some friends.

“I don’t have a lot of recollection of that day itself,” Parker, 60, said Monday while recovering at home in Paradise Hill, Sask. “I lost 99 per cent of it during the event.”

His wife said they hiked to the end of a trail and back, sat down for a snack and started making their way back to their truck.

“Darrell fell behind us and we never thought anything of it,” she said. ”He usually walks slower than we do.”

Their son, Travis, went back to look and saw that Parker had collapsed by the road and people were trying to help him.

Adams was two cars behind the commotion.

At first he thought there had been a crash, but then someone told him that a man was unconscious.

A bystander was performing CPR when Adams and his wife, who is a gynecologist, asked if they could help.

“We repositioned him and actually found that he was completely blue and had no pulse,” Adams said.

They tried to resuscitate Parker for 20 minutes. When paramedics arrived, they used defibrilators to shock his heart into restarting. They also inserted a breathing tube.

Once Parker was stable enough, he was rushed to hospital in Canmore and from there to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.

He woke up after a few days in an induced coma in the intensive care unit. Adams came to visit and explained what had happened.

“It felt like there was some divine intervention happening,” Parker said.

Adams, with the Libin Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Calgary, performed five bypasses on Parker during a more than four-hour operation nine days after the heart attack.

“I’m very encouraged with his prognosis,” Adams said. ”I bet you next year this time he’s back doing that hike again.”

Parker was discharged from hospital Sunday. He said he had no idea he had heart blockages and frequently goes for long walks.

He figures it will be three months before he can return to work in the oilfields, where he’s often alone in remote locations.

“If this would have happened to me at work, it probably wouldn’t have ended up the same way. If this would have happened to me at my home, it wouldn’t have turned out the same way,” he said.

“It was the best place in the world for this to happen, where it happened. The right people were there … it’s a divine event that saved my life somehow.”

He said his three children and four grandchildren can’t wait to visit.

Adams said Parker owes his survival to a group of strangers who pitched in to help.

“It was a very good team effort and that’s the reason in my mind why Darrell is here today,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2020.

Healthcare and Medicine

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Catherine Hay. Photo Submitted
Central Albertan lobbying government to help those affected by CERB repayments

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
750 new COVID-19 cases identified in Alberta Sunday

Central zone currently has 1,182 active cases of the virus

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Lacombe is looking at its options for reclaiming sewage lagoons that are no longer needed. Vesta Energy Ltd. has signed a deal to use three lagoons to store water for fracking.
Map from City of Lacombe
Energy company to use former Lacombe sewage lagoons to store water for fracking

Vesta Energy Ltd. will pay Lacombe more than $100,000 a year in 20-year deal

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Monday that11 more people had died from COVID-19, bringing the province’s death toll to 1,447. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Eleven more Albertans die from COVID-19

There were 739 people in hospital, 120 in ICU on Monday

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

Indigenous people gather for a ceremony for Cindy Gladue held at the courthouse in Edmonton, Alta, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Bradley Barton, a 52-year-old long-haul truck driver from Ontario on trial for manslaughter, is accused of killing Gladue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
People stand in support of mother as new trial gets underway in death of Cindy Gladue

Bradley Barton, a long-haul truck driver from Ontario, will now be tried for manslaughter in the 2011 death

(Photo submitted)
RCMP say ice climber seriously injured after reportedly falling 12 metres near Abraham Lake

Police say man’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening

Most Read