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This man wants to know if you saved his life 27 years ago in Ottawa

·3 min read
Dave Murphy is seeking to thank the Ottawa paramedics who saved his life after he was violently attacked. (Photo courtesy of Dave Murphy - image credit)
Dave Murphy is seeking to thank the Ottawa paramedics who saved his life after he was violently attacked. (Photo courtesy of Dave Murphy - image credit)

Calgarian Dave Murphy wants to find the paramedics he credits with saving his life after a violent attack 27 years ago outside of an Ottawa mall.

Though Murphy said the details are foggy from that day, he remembers a man and a woman paramedic attending to him after he got into a violent physical altercation with three men on March 28, 1994.

"I just remember being outside the mall and getting into a verbal discussion with a group of guys and one of them coming at me," he said on The Homestretch Wednesday.

"There were three of them on me, and I walked away thinking nothing happened and I put my hand on my leg and it was completely red and I fell to the ground."

He said he later learned he had multiple stab wounds, a severely cut leg muscle and a punctured lung from the attacks.

Dave Murphy says his wife and daughter are motivating reasons for him to seek mental health support and increase his mobility through weight loss.
Dave Murphy says his wife and daughter are motivating reasons for him to seek mental health support and increase his mobility through weight loss.(Photo courtesy of Dave Murphy.)

Road to healing

Murphy said that after being taken to CHEO (a pediatric hospital and research centre in Ottawa) he was transferred to the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus, and after he was discharged.

He says following that, he battled severe PTSD and had to relearn to walk.

He said it would stress him out to see anyone who resembled the men who attacked him.

When he got married, his wife and later his daughter became motivating reasons for him to get help for what he was going through.

"I said, you know what I need to go get this fixed before I have a kid come into my life. So, that was my big wake-up call," he said.

Murphy has never sought out the men who attacked him. He said they were all teenagers at the time, he being 18 years old, though he knows they were eventually charged.

He is, however, seeking out the paramedics who attended to him that day.

Quest for thanks

Murphy said if the paramedics who rode with him in the ambulance hadn't been there to look after him, he would have died.

In 2015, after he had worked on bettering his mental health, Murphy started the process of searching for them.

He said his search has mostly led to dead ends but he has not given up.

His next move will be to contact the hospital where he was treated and request the ambulance report.

"It'll bring closure for me … I plan on having my wife and our six-year-old girl there, even if it's online … and just say thank you, I wouldn't have this," said Murphy.

Paying it forward

Part of Murphy's journey to health included a goal to lose some weight, so walking would be easier and he could keep up with his daughter.

He has started a fundraising campaign tied to his weight-loss journey and has raised nearly $3,000, all to be donated to Can Praxis, which provides horse therapy for veterans and first responders who require treatment for stress injuries.

"Since this happened to me, I've always been doing this to try and pay it forward," said Murphy.