RED DEER -- Employees of a Red Deer Scotiabank are being credited with saving a man's life after he had a heart attack. 

On April 20, Dave McLaughlin was at his usual bank to pay a bill. He paid the bill, joked around with the bank teller, and started to walk out of the building. As he passed through the door, he collapsed.

“As soon as I stepped outside the bank, I fell dead,” said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin suffered a heart attack. At 6'6", McLaughlin fell straight backwards, hitting the back of his head on the floor.

“Everyone heard a thump,” said Anto Davis, a Scotiabank employee.

“I looked out and I saw him lying on the ground.”

Davis and Desarae Lang, along with the two other Scotiabank employees, rushed to the McLaughlin’s side. The two other women set up a perimeter around McLaughlin while Davis and Lang got 911 on the phone.

Davis started performing CPR and Lang was on the phone with the operator relaying the operator’s instructions. It took only minutes for the paramedics to arrive at the bank, but Davis said, to her, it felt much longer than that.

“I just remember thinking when are the paramedics coming,” said Davis.

“It was amazing because the paramedics were here in no time, but it felt very slow.”

The paramedics rushed McLaughlin to the Red Deer Regional Hospital, but he was later transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. Davis, never having performed CPR before, said she was worried that she might not have done it correctly.

“The feeling of not knowing what you’re doing is scary afterwards.”

However, that worry was soon put to ease when the paramedics returned, 45 minutes later, with the news that McLaughlin’s heart was beating again.

“I have to admit it made me feel so much better because, between that time, I honestly felt that I did everything wrong,” said Davis.

As a result of the fall, McLaughlin experienced brain bleeding and bruising. The doctor’s put him into an induced coma for two days. McLaughlin said that when he woke up, it felt like someone had jumped up and down on his chest. Doctors told him that was a good indication that whoever performed CPR on him had done a proper job.

“The doctors and nurses said right away if you didn’t feel that pain, then the person didn’t do the job that they should have,” said McLaughlin.

It took weeks for McLaughlin to recover from his injuries and his family was never able to visit him at the hospital due to COVID-19 restrictions. McLaughlin’s son later told him that after the RCMP knocked on his door, he was worried that he may never see his father again.

“All they could tell him is that your dad had a heart attack,” said McLaughlin.

“He was just overwhelmed with the thought that he may not see me again.”

McLaughlin returned home to Red Deer on May 25, and the next day he went to the bank to thank the women who saved his life.

“I was just overwhelmed with the fact that these girls saved my life,” said McLaughlin.

And, they were excited to see him.

“It was very emotional,” said Lang.

“We were both holding back the tears.”

McLaughlin said surviving the heart attack has given him a new perspective on life.

“I’ve learned not to be so cocky,” said McLaughlin.

“I just go on about each day, moment by moment, trying to be aware and sensitive to the fact that I’m alive.”