CPR efforts by civilian, TPD officers save toddler
Ina Ronquillo, Marcelino Benito
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The valiant efforts of two off-duty Tucson police officers and a civilian helped save the life of a 23-month-old toddler.
Sgt. Maria Hawke with TPD tells KGUN9 that on August 23, an off-duty officer at Golf N’ Stuff located at 6503 East Tanque Verde, requested additional units to assist with locating a missing toddler.
Officers responded and learned that a toddler had been at the Golf N’ Stuff with her family since just before 8:30 p.m. As the family was finishing a game of miniature golf, the toddler wandered away from her parents. She was described as a 23-month-old little girl, said Hawke.
It is estimated that approximately 10-15 seconds passed between when her family last saw the toddler and when they determined that she was missing, said Hawke.
Since there was a water feature on the western end of the miniature golf course, the family believed she had fallen into the water.
"We've all had that feeling," said Officer Jeremy Hall, one of the men credited with saving her life. "It's a moment of sheer panic."
A man, who was playing on the miniature golf course nearby heard the family yelling for help and immediately began searching for her as well.
The man saw the toddler in the water feature and quickly jumped in to pull her out, said Hawke. He attempted to initiate CPR in an effort to revive her, as she was not breathing. He was not trained in performing CPR and was unsuccessful.
All officers received training related to basic emergency medical life saving measures, including CPR.
"It's one of those situations you don't have time to think, you just rely on training to kick in," said Hall.
Officer Billy Daniel, a 26 ½-year veteran, and Hall, a 1-year veteran and former EMT, were successfully able to administer CPR.
"Because of the amount of water she couldn't breathe, her heart had actually stopped," said Hall. "I flipped her over and performed some backthrusts and caused her to spit everything out."
By the time crews from Tucson Fire arrived, the child was breathing once again.
"It was a huge moment of relief," said Hall. "It's pretty much indescribable. We don't get a lot of victories in this job, so when we get something like this, it's really cool."
The Tucson Fire Department personnel transported the toddler to a local hospital for further medical evaluation and treatment. Her condition at the time was deemed to be critical.
As of the morning of August 26, her medical status has improved greatly.