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'My guardian angels': Saskatoon woman meets the paramedics who saved her life

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Medavie Health Services West kicked off paramedic services week with a rare reunion — first responders got to meet the woman whose life they saved.

In a profession where lives often hang in the balance, it's less common to catch up with clients when the crisis is over.

“I have a different name for Matt and Mitch, they’re my guardian angels," said Nicole Craig, describing the two paramedics who saved her life last Monday.

Matt McGurk and Mitchell Sparrow are the ones who were on the job that day.

“There are no words that I can say that would fully express my gratitude to them. I stand here with the utmost sincerity and say thank you and showing my appreciation and acknowledgment for the impact you’ve now had on my life,” Craig said.

Craig went to the Medavie headquarters a few days later and in addition to paying her bill, she requested to meet the pair that got her heart beating again.

“It’s pretty special that we get to meet you here again today. Thankfully we were just one block away when the call came in, and minutes and seconds are of the utmost importance — especially in that situation,” paramedic Mitchell Sparrow told CTV News.

The rescue happened on a street bench in downtown Saskatoon. Craig felt lightheaded and doesn’t remember much after that. It was a quick-thinking coworker who called 911 immediately.

“The stars were aligned that day. We were literally a block away, and that rarely happens, and you were outside, and we got there and started CPR, two shocks right away,” McGurk said.

Those shocks from the defibrillator, along with chest compressions, got the 45-year-old’s heart pumping again.

“It’s been enlightening and definitely something I don’t want to experience again,” Craig said.

McGurk says that while this ended up with a positive outcome, their job can be rife with emotionally painful situations.

McGurk, who has been on the job for 22 years, is thankful there are more supports in place to deal with the stressors paramedics face on the job.

“We’re getting to the point where the industry and practitioners are starting to say 'it’s ok for me to say I’m not ok.' I wouldn’t have said that five years ago,” McGurk said.

As for Craig, she says being given a second chance at life has given her a new perspective.

“I think I’m just slowing down and appreciating things more, and being more present.”

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