August 7, 2012

Two hospital workers perform life-saving CPR on kids at Fort Worth pool

Women gave CPR to young children who almost drowned in north Fort Worth pool.

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It was rare that Christy Daae visited the community pool in north Fort Worth where two children nearly drowned Monday afternoon.

"I do feel that it was divine intervention," said Daae, an RN supervisor in the emergency room at Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital. "We never go to that pool. The pool we usually go to was closed on Monday and the other was a slide pool and I didn't really feel like going to the slide pool."

So on Monday afternoon, Daae, her 3-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, found themselves at one of the seven pools at the Villages of Woodland Springs that is normally frequented by younger children.

"We were swimming and just enjoying our day," said Daae, 40. "I had gone to the kiddy pool to play with my daughter. I heard a scream and as I turned, I saw a woman holding two kids and pushing them out of the pool."

Tarrin Thompson, a psych technician with John Peter Smith Hospital at Trinity Springs, had also been enjoying a day at the pool with her sister and three children, ranging in age from 5 years to 21 months old, when she, too, heard the woman's shout and ran over to see a woman holding up both kids, a 3-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy.

"He was completely unconscious. The girl was very dazed," said Thompson, 23. "As soon I saw the boy, my eyes didn't really go from him. He had blue lips and everything. He was bad. I grabbed him and pulled him out and immediately started CPR."

Daae soon joined her. The two strangers took turns pressing on the young boy's chest and breathing into his mouth.

By the time the boy was loaded into a helicopter ambulance to be flown to Cooks Children's Medical Center, paramedics were able to obtain a pulse. He remained in critical condition Tuesday, said Kristin Peaks, a spokeswoman with the hospital.

The girl, taken by ground ambulance to Cooks, was later released.

Boy was helping girl

Peaks said the boy's parents did not wish to speak to reporters Tuesday but did relay the messages that they "welcome prayer from anyone right now."

Sgt. Jim Thomson, supervisor of the crimes against children unit, said investigators do not anticipate seeking criminal charges in connection with the near drownings.

He said the children's mothers were both present in the pool area when the incident occurred.

"The girl's mother turned her back to the pool or went to get something out of the cooler that was in the pool area and the girl started struggling," . Thomson said.

Thomson said the boy had jumped into the water and got under the girl to help her stay above water when he got in trouble.

Daae said she had been swimming in the bigger pool, watching the girl and boy play, minutes before the near drowning but had gotten out to play with her daughter in the kiddy pool. She said both children's mothers appeared attentive, either playing in the pool with the kids or watching them from outside the pool.

'What can I do to help?'

For Tarrin Thompson, Monday marked the first time she had to use CPR.

"Whenever you're in training, the thing they go over and over and over is to never stop the compressions," Thompson said.

The two women switched off doing compressions and respirations.

"I even told my sister after this that I was really thankful she was there with me," Thompson said. "I was able to completely give this child my attention and know my kids were safe."

When the first MedStar ambulance arrived on the scene, Daae said she immediately recognized paramedic Clu Reagan, who she knew through her 16 years of working at Harris.

"I asked, 'what can I do to help?' He said, keep on with CPR," Daae said.

Daae said she continued with chest compressions while MedStar EMT Aaron Snyder began bagging the boy as Reagan started an IV and hooked up a automated external defibrillator.

Daae said firefighters had arrived on the scene to assist when she heard the mother of the 3-year-old girl say, "Emmi. Emmi. Wake up! Stay with me."

"I turned to her and she was kind of semi-conscious in her mom's arms," Daae said.

'Clearly a God thing'

Daae said as MedStar and firefighters continued to try to revive the boy, she turned her attention to the girl, working with a firefighter to start an IV and give oxygen to the girl.

"She was crying and obeying some commands. She wasn't really talking yet," Daae said. "I think she was really scared. Her mom and dad were there. She would squeeze their hand but she wouldn't open her eyes or talk to anybody."

Tarrin Thompson took Daae's children to the nearby playground while their mother continued to work on the children.

"My sister had already taken my kids out of the pool area so I took her kids to the park that's right next to it," Thompson said. "...They were just staring. Her son -- you could tell he was really shaken up by it."

Matt Zavadsky, a spokesman with MedStar, praised both women Tuesday for their efforts. Zavadsky said a person's survival rate increases if chest compressions are done immediately by bystanders rather than waiting for paramedics to arrive on the scene.

"These two women doing CPR and, most importantly chest compressions, can make all the difference in survival," Zavadsky said. "Every study ever published for cardiac arrest survival has shown the sooner you can get hands on the chest ... and the percent of time the hands are on the chest makes all the difference."

Both Daae and Thompson say they hope their efforts helped and are both pray that the boy pulls through.

"I do believe that it was clearly a God thing," Daae said of her presence at the pool that day. "It was not luck by any means."

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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