As a CPR instructor for over 10 years, people often ask if I have ever performed CPR. I always answered, ďNo, and I never really want to.ď But in July 2002, I had to perform CPR on my niece's 2-year-old son.
It was a typical situation where we had a family gathering with about 25 family and friends. After dinner, my niece, Ann, went inside to get something for a friend and when she came back out, she realized she didnít know where her 2-year-old son was. We all scattered to look for him and my husband went to the fence and looked at our neighborís pool. He didnít see Cody, but told Ann to go check, as there were two large floating rafts. She found Cody floating on the far side of the pool, partially hidden by the rafts. He was very pale and had dark gray circles around his eyes that were fixed, dilated and glazed over. Needless to say, he didnít look well!
While looking for him in the house, I heard his mother scream. I picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1. Then I realized she was screaming my name. My husband grabbed the phone and pushed me out the door.
Cody was unresponsive. I could tell he wasnít breathing and I couldnít find any signs of circulation. Right away I began to give him CPR. At one point, I began to gag and I turned my head to cough. As I did so, my husband saw and joined me. He took over the breathing. We did two person CPR for few more minutes until the paramedics arrived. I remember thinking how similar doing CPR on Cody felt like practicing on a junior manikin! Even though he never regained consciousness and never started breathing on his own, when the paramedics arrived, they hooked him up to the ECG and found he had a sinus rhythm!
Cody spent ten days in ICU on a ventilator, the first seven in a drug-induced coma. On the tenth day in the hospital, his intubation tube was taken out and he breathed on his own. About an hour later, he ate some pudding! He moved out of ICU and spent another week recovering in the hospital. He appears to have completely recovered without any signs of brain damage.
One day when I came to visit him, I was surprised to see a few nurses in his room. One of them told me they love to come to Codyís room. I agreed that he was a really cute kid, and the nurse replied, "No, you donít understand. We donít get drowning victims like this. We get drowning victims that go straight from ICU to the convalescent centers, due to the brain damage." She said, "Itís because he had good CPR as soon as he was found."
We are all very grateful for Codyís recovery. Thanks especially to the firefighters and all the family and friends who offered prayers in Codyís behalf. Cody continues to grow and be an active happy boy!
Copyright 2004. Sue Lockhart is the Vice President of OptiWell, the Optimum in Wellness Training, an independent training center for the American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI). She has been a CPR instructor since 1991.