As we go into the Labor Day weekend, the last before most swimming pools close for the season, a reminder of how quickly children can get into trouble in the water. And it only took a momentary distraction as a mother watching her two children had to turn away from one of them to look after the other.
Annie Medley has been a nurse for 10 years - most of those in an intensive care unit. She says she has given CPR "countless times." But never quite like this. Medley, who now works in Cardiology at The University of Kansas Health System, was with her family at their neighborhood pool in Lee's Summit. She and her husband were playing with their two young children when she heard someone shout, "Hey, are you OK?!" They all looked and saw a four-year-old girl floating face-down in the water. When bystanders rolled the child over, Medley saw her lips were blue and her eyes were rolled back.
Certified in basic and advanced life support, Medley immediately began compressions on the girl. Another woman at the pool, a physical therapist, started giving her breaths…two breaths for every 15 compressions. The girl gurgled but her eyes remained lifeless. The CPR continued, the ambulance approaching. Finally, she vomited a lot of water. She was breathing and coherent when the ambulance arrived. Thanks to the quick action, the girl made a full recovery.
In the video, Annie describes what happened that day, and how her lifesaving action underscores the importance of professional CPR training. But for Medley, as a parent, it also touched an emotional cord. "I've never done CPR outside a hospital, and I hope to never have to do it again," she admits. "It's so difficult knowing you have limited resources, you're waiting for the ambulance and you have this little one's life in your hands."