Paramedic student puts knowledge into action by helping stroke victim

Left to right: Shannon Walmsley, Davis Sheridan, and Donna Walmsley.
Left to right: Shannon Walmsley, Davis Sheridan, and Donna Walmsley.

Donna Walmsley started her day on February 4, 2019 just like any other Monday, volunteering at Community Care Ennismore and running errands around town. She didn’t feel any different that morning than any other morning, but February 4th is the day Donna had a stroke.

“I was fine,” said Donna. “I went to Giant Tiger and started driving to No Frills, and then I felt like I couldn’t see.”

Donna missed her first turn into the plaza and then remembered there is a second entrance, which she managed to pull into and park. Realizing no one would notice her inside the vehicle, Donna willed herself to move.

“I opened my car door and I didn’t know if I could walk, I didn’t know if I could make it across the parking lot, but I needed to get to a public space,” said Donna, who describes the feeling as extreme dizziness. Donna made it inside the No Frills and held onto the vegetable shelves to prevent herself from falling.

Luckily for Donna, Fleming College Paramedic student Davis Sheridan was grocery shopping that day.

“I told the employees to call the Paramedics because they weren’t sure what to do. I comforted her until the ambulance came and I did a stroke assessment on her, checked her pulse, and calmed her breathing,” explained Davis, who is in his final semester at Fleming. “She felt dizzy and she couldn’t stand up, she was worried about her dog being at home and no one being there, and she also mentioned her daughter Shannon.”

When Paramedics arrived, Davis reported all of this to them.

“We are going through ride-outs right now in the Paramedic program,” said Davis, referring to the fourth-semester Paramedic Consolidation course, where students work regular shifts in an ambulance with a paramedic crew. “I am doing mine with Northumberland Paramedics right now, which is working with real patients, so this situation felt natural to me and I was comfortable. I felt very prepared through school and experience.”

Donna and her daughter Shannon are very grateful to Davis. On Monday, March 4, they visited the Paramedic Lab at Fleming’s Sutherland Campus to thank Davis in person.

“You’re going into this career and I think it’s nice to go into it having a happy story to hang on to,” said Shannon, who teased her mom when she met Davis.

“My mom loves red hair,” said Shannon.

Donna added, “Shannon said to me, ‘leave it to you to find a redhead!”