Heroic dis­patcher coaches by­standers, saves baby

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - BLAIR CRAW­FORD bcraw­ford@postmedia.com

A three-month-old girl was re­vived and is re­cov­er­ing in hospi­tal af­ter a dra­matic emer­gency re­sponse Thurs­day af­ter­noon in which a 911 am­bu­lance dis­patcher coached by­standers how to do in­fant CPR.

“By­stander CPR is one of the first links in the chain of sur­vival,” said Marc-An­toine Deschamps of the Ottawa Para­medic Ser­vice. “That’s why it’s so im­por­tant for our dis­patch­ers to find some­one to do it. Even if you’ve never taken a course, they’ll tell you what to do and how to do it.”

The drama be­gan around 3:15 p.m. when the in­fant’s par­ents were driv­ing on St. Lau­rent Boule­vard and no­ticed the girl had be­come un­re­spon­sive. They stopped on the over­pass near Innes Road and one per­son sprinted about 400 me­tres to get help from Fire Sta­tion No. 36 on In­dus­trial Av­enue.

By the time fire­fight­ers ar­rived, a City of Ottawa park­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cer had al­ready stopped to as­sist and by­standers were on the phone to the am­bu­lance dis­patcher.

The fe­male dis­patcher coached them through the process un­til fire­fight­ers took over. The baby was taken to the Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal of Eastern On­tario where she was in sta­ble con­di­tion, Deschamps said.

The dis­patcher was shaken by the “emo­tion­ally dif­fi­cult” ex­pe­ri­ence, he said.

“It’s ex­tremely stress­ful, but they are very well trained to han­dle this sort of sit­u­a­tion.

“It’s im­por­tant that you call 911 right away be­cause they will give you all the in­struc­tions. Even if you’re very close to a hospi­tal, if you don’t do CPR right away it might be too late.”

Danielle Car­di­nal of the Ottawa Fire Ser­vices praised the “team ef­fort” in­volved, but cau­tioned peo­ple to phone 911 rather than run­ning to a fire sta­tion since there’s no guar­an­tee any­one will be there. Car­di­nal be­gan her ca­reer as an am­bu­lance dis­patcher and knows how stress­ful such calls can be.

“When you’re giv­ing some­one in­struc­tions it’s not al­ways the eas­i­est day,” she said. “I tip my hat to that dis­patcher who kept ev­ery­one calm and gave in­struc­tions for this baby to get the best care.”

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