Mother’s CPR training saved toddler’s life

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Melinda Hickey knew something was wrong almost as soon as her little girl didn’t answer her call one morning in the summer of 2020.

However, she didn’t realize that a nightmarish scenario that all parents dreaded was about to become her reality.

It was a hot day on the August bank holiday weekend and the family was getting ready to leave. The front and back doors to their home in Monaghan were open and Melinda and her teenage son, Lorcan, shouted Therese, 19 months, as they wanted to hit the road.

Melinda walked from her car to the front of the house toward an ornamental pond that had been emptied several times to protect babies, but continued to fill with rainwater.

“She was floating in it,” recalls Melinda.

At 39 weeks pregnant, getting her daughter’s soft body out of the water was difficult, but a combination of instinct and adrenaline helped her get out of it. She urged Lorcan for help and immediately began performing CPR on Therese.

“She was unresponsive and her face was turning blue and I could hear the water gurgling in her lungs,” Melinda said. “I tried to get the water out, almost like I was doing the Heimlich maneuver, and then I started CPR.”

Melinda had learned CPR through her job as a health assistant. Lorcan had called 999 and alerted a neighbor, who had rushed to the scene.

The guards were just fantastic. One of them held my hand the whole way and told me exactly what was going on. I was in shock but you just have to trust the experts

She said the emergency services phone operator explained to her what needed to be done and told her that if anyone could help with CPR she should make sure to call on them for help. ‘aid.

“I didn’t want to do this at first and kept going, but I knew I was getting tired, so my neighbor Ian started doing chest compressions and I started doing breaths,” Melinda said. .

“The man on the phone was fantastic. He kept telling me where the paramedics were. They were 10 minutes, five minutes, two minutes. And when they got there, he told me not to stop until they really got to where I and Therese were.

The little girl was flown to CHI Temple Street in Dublin, but the prognosis was not good. Melinda was told that there was only a “small ray of hope” and that even if her daughter did, the brain damage could be catastrophic because her heart had stopped twice and this It had been 50 minutes since she fell in the pond until she arrived in the emergency room.

While Thérèse was being resuscitated by doctors, Melinda was taken by Gardaí to the hospital because her late pregnancy prevented her from traveling in the air ambulance.

“The guards were just fantastic. One of them held my hand the whole way and told me exactly what was going on. I was in shock but you just have to trust the experts.

In a way it’s a miracle but I don’t want to take away from all human interventions. Sometimes the system does not always gel, but in this case … [it] saved my little girl

A month after her daughter’s admission to Temple Street, she was released.

“She’s just perfect,” Melinda says before stopping to acknowledge that there are other parents who haven’t had such positive results from similar incidents.

“I know we had a good result and I really feel sorry for the parents who didn’t. We have had a month of suffering and I think it helps us to build relationships with others who have not had good results. “

She knows how close her family has come to the worst outcome and continues to come back to her knowledge of CPR.

“No one else in my family knew how to do it. There was only me. I told a nurse I was doing what anyone would do, but she said you would be surprised how many people panic in these situations.

Melinda is aware that her composure and her training helped save Therese’s life, but she points out that there was a long chain of other people who played vital roles.

“In a way, it’s a miracle but I don’t want to take away all human intervention. Sometimes the system does not always freeze, but in this case everything happened and that’s what saved my little girl.

According to the director of the National Ambulance Service, Robert Morton, several ambulance resources were dispatched, including an emergency ambulance, an intermediate care vehicle, a paramedic, the AC112 helicopter as well as a local fire unit and the Garda Síochána.

To mark Restart a Heart Day on Saturday and raise awareness of the importance of CPR, the National Ambulance Service hosted a meeting at Castleblayney Ambulance Station in Co Monaghan for all involved in the rescue by Thérèse.

The first paramedics were present, the ambulance call attendants and dispatchers, local firefighters and the child’s hospital doctor.

Training event

Restart a Heart Day is an annual training event on October 16 focused on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of defibrillators.

The goal of Restart a Heart Day is to raise awareness, educate and train the general public to increase the likelihood that lives will be saved in the event of cardiac arrest, as the first moments after that are critical and a person trained on site can make the difference.

If someone experiences cardiac arrest, their chances of survival double if it happens in front of a passerby who immediately calls 112/999 and begins CPR before an ambulance arrives. Otherwise, every minute without CPR will reduce the chance of survival by 7-10%.

Those interested in information on CPR can send an email to [email protected]


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