Hero Had Necessary Skills to Save the Day

The end of the story about 2-month-old Adda Claire Owino could have been tragically different. The author of the happy ending was Hakeem Sanders.

The dramatic story was featured on the front page of Wednesday’s Herald. Adda Claire’s mother, Hayley Owino, sensing that her daughter had napped too long, went to check on her in the Fort Mill apartment she and her husband had just rented. Their belongings were still packed in boxes, and the Owinos had not met any of their neighbors yet.

But when one of those neighbors, Sanders, heard the anguished cries of a woman outside the door of his apartment, he peeked out to see Hayley Owino bending over Adda Claire, who was bleeding from the mouth and nose and, apparently, not breathing. Sanders rushed to help.

When he encountered Hayley, he said the magic words: “I know CPR.”

Sanders had learned how to perform CPR on infants because of a loss of his own, a young nephew who died from choking. His sister, Erica McLean, also had preemie twins, so she and her mother took the course with Sanders.

CPR for small children is more delicate than it is for adults. If breaths are too deep during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or if chest compressions are too hard, the rescuer might do more harm than good.

Sanders said he acted on instinct from what he had been taught. As he administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, he carefullly controlled the volume of air because of the baby’s small lungs. When he did chest compressions, he was careful to be gentle.

After the fifth compression, “there was a gasp,” Sanders said. Then Adda Claire opened her eyes and began breathing on her own.

EMS responders took the youngster to the hospital to evaluate her, but she is fine.

And Sanders is a hero – officially. At Hayley Owino’s urging, Piedmont Medical Center gave Sanders its EMS Hero Award, only the fifth time the award has been bestowed in the past 25 years in York County. It goes to those who show remarkable bravery, strength and courage.

We would add, remarkable foresight, expertise and grace under pressure.

Like many stories with happy endings, this one has a moral: Learn how to do CPR. This essential skill can turn anyone into a lifesaver in an emergency situation like the one Sanders confronted.

But it’s important to learn how to do CPR correctly. Piedmont Medical Center offers a variety of CPR classes, including ones on how to administer CPR to children and infants. For more information, go to www.piedmontmedicalcenter.com or email Robert White at robertd.white@tenethealth.com.

The more people who know CPR, the better the odds someone will be able to step up and help in an emergency. And it can be a matter of life and death.

Just ask Hakeem Sanders and the Owino family.

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2014/08/24/6258212/hero-had-necessary-skills-to-save.html#storylink=cpy

September 16, 2014

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