Mikey defibrillator used to save GO passenger

Derek Thompson used a Mikey to rescue a man having a cardiac arrest. Photo Credit: JOSH TAPPER/TORONTO STAR

As the GO train pulled in to Union Station, George Koshil, who had been scheduled for coronary artery bypass surgery in late October, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on Platform 12.

Lucky for him, GO customer service ambassador Derek Thompson was there.  After Koshil stopped breathing, Thompson fastened a Mikey (portable Automated External Defibrillator) to Koshil’s chest and hit the button. He then performed CPR before Koshil coughed and started breathing.  Paramedics arrived soon after and rushed Koshil to St. Michael’s Hospital.

According to one passenger who contacted GO to commend Derek Thompson,

 “The [CSA] appeared to be calm, in control and fully trained for the incident.  He used the defibrillator (I think twice) and administered chest compression, as well as mouth to mouth.  The last thing I saw was the man breathing.  I don’t know if the elderly man survived but high praise to the [CSA] who worked hard in reviving the man.  …  I am glad to see that the staff at GO transit is fully trained in emergencies and that they care!”

George Koshil is recovering well after surgery.

The MIKEY used was one of 100 Defibrillators placed throughout the GO Transit network as part of the Mikey On the GO program.

Global TV News aired a story about a family who received a “MIKEY” (Automatic External Defibrillator) through our Mikey’s Kids program.

The six year old boy has a condition called Long QT Syndrome and without his MIKEY close at hand, it would be too dangerous for him to enjoy many of the activities that most kids take for granted.

Through the Mikey’s Kid’s program, we supply MIKEYS and training to families whose children have serious heart conditions so they and their families can leave the hospital knowing that a MIKEY is at hand should their heart happen to skip a beat.


On December 3, 2010, 14 year-old Danny Wu was swimming in the pool at Harbord Collegiate Institue during a grade 10 boys’ gym class. His classmates, Ben Claytor and Ruben Jofre, noticed  him in distress and went into action. They held him up in the shallow end of the pool until lifeguard Joe Faria and teacher Bryan Gurney came to assist.

Suddenly Danny stopped breathing. CPR was administered and 911 was called. Vice-principal Janice Gladstone quickly got the Mikey Defibrillator that was onsite through the Mikey Young At Heart program, and brought it to the pool. The defibrillator was used and Danny was revived.

EMS arrived soon after the 911 call and they also used the MIKEY. Once Danny was stabilized, he was brought to the Hospital for Sick Kids, where he would remain in the Intensive Care Unit for several days.

“The response from our students and teachers was exceptional, particularly the efforts of our life guard, physical education teacher and the two students who initially jumped to action,” said principal Rodrigo Fuentes.

Danny’s classmates and teachers were happy and relieved to hear about his progress and ecstatic when the grade 10 student finally returned to school on December 16.

In this video, Danny Wu and Vice-principal Janice Gladstone talk about what happened that day in their own words.

To date, over 200 AEDs, which we call MIKEYs, have been placed in schools including the Toronto District School Board, Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board and Limestone District School Board. More importantly, 3 students have a second chance at life because a MIKEY was available when they needed it most.



Mikey Kids

Mikey's Kids - Mikey At Home ProgramThe Sick Kids Hospital and The Mikey Network have developed the Mikey’s Kids Program. This program allows children who have been diagnosed with a heart disease to go home while waiting for treatment or transplants. These children would not be discharged from the hospital without receiving a Mikey unit.

SickKids Hospital is an important partner in an initiative aimed at children, called the Mikey’s Kids Program. The Network supplies Mikeys to families whose children have serious heart conditions so they and their families can leave the hospital knowing that a Mikey is at hand should their heart happen to skip a beat.

The Mikey Network’s mission involves helping people of all ages, and it has been gratifying to help so many families through the Network’s partnership with SickKids Hospital.

“The Mikey Kids-at-Home program ensures that families from all parts of Ontario, whose children have life-threatening heart conditions, have access to life-saving AED technology,” says Dr. Joel Kirsh. “This provides high-risk patients, their families and their medical team at SickKids wonderful piece of mind.”

Social workers at The Labatt Family Heart Centre at SickKids wrote, “Through the generosity of The Mikey Network in supplying defibrillators for the children and training for their caregivers, these children are able to be at home when they might not have otherwise been able to safely do so.”

The peace of mind these Mikeys provide for families is priceless, knowing that should their child’s heart skip a beat, life-saving help is close at hand.

Letter of Appreciation

Dear Mikey Network,

There are times in everyone’s lives when words just aren’t big enough to express what we would like to say.  This is one of those times for us.  There simply are not enough words in order to be able to properly thank you for having donated an AED to our family.

I can’t begin to tell you what we felt when we were told that Kyle, our 9 year old son, has Long QT or sudden death syndrome.  We knew that his collapsing and fainting wasn’t normal, however, it never prepared us for the possibilty of Long QT. It was if the bottom of our world fell out and we were left stranded. To be told that our only child could collapse and die at any given moment without warning is overwhelming.  To be unable to prevent it is even worse.

However, thanks to you and your organization’s donation of the AED, we now have the one tool that will enable us to save our son’s life when he collapses again.  Without the AED, I don’t know where or what we would be doing.  It helps us get back to a more normal life, knowing that we have a chance to save our son in the event that his heart stops again.

The gift that you have given our family is the gift of our son’s life and for that we have really no appropriate words that will express to you just how thankful we are.   Thank you for helping us in such a difficult time.

Should there be anything that we could do to pay this gift forward, please don’t hesitate to ask.  It would be our pleasure to offer any assistance possible.

Yours truly,
Jone Wright, David and Kyle Hunter

Mikey’s Kids Program Helps Families

Mikey Kids Program“The Mikey’s Kids Program ensures that families from all parts of Ontario, whose children have life-threatening heart conditions, have access to life-saving AED technology,” says Dr. Joel Kirsh of SickKids Hospital – one of The Mikey Network’s critical partners. “The availability of an AED for these high-risk patients gives the families (and their medical team here at SickKids) wonderful piece of mind.”

In July, The Mikey Network received a letter from social workers Laurie DeOliveira, Ruta Niedra and Kim Thompson of The Labatt Family Heart Centre at SickKids. They wrote, “We would like this opportunity to extend our thanks to you and The Mikey Network for your generous donations of defibrillators for several families that have recently been seen in the Labatt Family Heart Centre, either as in-patients or out-patients. Through the generosity of The Mikey Network in supplying defibrillators for the children and training for their caregivers, these children are able to be at home when they might not have otherwise been able to safely do so.”

The Network recently donated a Mikey to the Van Hees family of Burlington. Melanie and James’ two-year-old son Jakob has ventricular tachycardia, which places him at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. “Both our families have cottages near Kingston,” Melanie says, “and we wouldn’t feel comfortable going there – or anywhere else – without the security of the Mikey. We appreciate everything The Mikey Network stands for.”

Portable Reassurance

Mikey At Home ProgramHaving one child with a heart condition is stressful, but Laurie Hobbs is raising three young children who are at risk of developing the same heart-related diseases their father died of at age 31- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and Long QT Syndrome. Knowing that at any time, Joshua (13), Owen (4) and Tyler (2) might experience cardiac arrest, Laurie is on constant alert for anything that might cause an adrenaline release and possibly trigger the condition. In 2006, through Toronto’s SickKids Hospital (a critical partner in The Mikey Network), we donated two MIKEYS to Laurie to help her and her family.

“It’s a difficult diagnosis for parents to deal with,” Laurie says. “My husband was never diagnosed with these conditions, which is why he passed away. I had a difficult time coping until we received the MIKEYS, which have made a huge difference in all our lives.” Thanks to the MIKEYS, Laurie was able to take the children to their cottage last summer, where she says they have wonderful memories of their dad. “The MIKEY is easy to carry,” she adds. “I take it everywhere, even to WalMart. I feel like I’m a better mother with the defibrillator so handy.” Laurie and most of her family members have been trained by Toronto EMS in how to use the MIKEYS. “What a coincidence that my husband’s name was also Mike,” she says. “Helping to save lives is a wonderful way to honour Mike Salem’s memory.”

Mikey Network GO TransitGO Transit, in partnership with The Mikey Network and the Toronto EMS Cardiac Safe City program, is installing public-access defibrillators, called MIKEYs, on GO Trains and at stations.  About 100 MIKEY defibrillators will be available across GO Transit’s extensive network.

“GO Transit carries thousands of passengers each day, and having easy-to-use defibrillators is another way GO is putting the safety of its passengers first,” said GO Transit Chairman Peter Smith. “We’re thrilled to partner with The Mikey Network and Toronto EMS to install these portable, life-saving devices that we hope won’t have to be put to the test too often.”

MIKEYs are being installed on the accessible car of every GO Train, as well as at GO stations along the Lakeshore line, at the end stations on each of GO’s other six lines, at Union Station, and at all layover facilities. GO is the first transit system in the GTA to equip its vehicles and facilities with MIKEY defibrillators.

“This announcement will increase the chances of survival and recovery for those who suffer from cardiac arrest,” said Minister of Health Promotion Margarett Best. “I congratulate GO Transit, Toronto EMS, and The Mikey Network for their partnership in helping Ontarians practice healthy, active living.”

“Today we’re taking the Network on a different track, with the installation of 100 MIKEYs in GO Transit facilities and on the trains. We’re excited about reaching out to so many GO travelers – more than 200,000 on a typical weekday – plus the staff who will also have access to the units. This is a huge expansion of the Network’s influence, and will raise awareness for our organization in a big way,” said Mikey Network Chairman Hugh Heron.    “Mikey on the GO is a great name and a fantastic opportunity for The Mikey Network. We have two major goals – to place MIKEYs in as many public places as possible, and to educate the public about heart-healthy living, in the hope that the units won’t have to be used,” Heron added.

A MIKEY is a public-access defibrillator – an electronic device that delivers an electronic shock to the heart through the chest wall in order to restore the heart to its normal rhythm. The shock from a MIKEY can increase asudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival if it is used within thefirst critical moments following the incident, even before paramedics and emergency personnel arrive.    As part of GO’s standard safety procedures and to ensure the well beingof its customers, all frontline staff are trained in CPR and first aid. With the installation of the MIKEYs, all GO personnel on board GO Trains and at train stations with a MIKEY unit have been trained by Toronto EMS on how to use the defibrillator device.