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Mother's CPR on 3-day-old baby

It’s one thing to save a stranger’s life, but to save your own child’s life must be beyond the scale of comprehension.


Happiness, at your youngest son being born three days earlier, turns to dread when he suffers a cardiac arrest completely unexpectedly.

Anna Burse and partner David Rixon, from Little Bookham, had invited Sara Yorke, godparent to their other children – twins Emily, Alyssa (7) and Brandon (12) - to meet the family’s new edition, Cody.

What started as a quiet evening full of joy turned into a nightmarish race to save their baby.Cody at Hospital

Anna said: “I was breastfeeding Cody, looked down and noticed he had grey lips and was lifeless. He hadn’t made any noises and wasn’t agitated.

“I put him down on the floor straight away and started doing CPR while David called for an ambulance.”

Having been taught basic life support by a previous employer she was able to administer life-saving CPR under the guidance of the 999 operator.

First on scene for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust was single responder Peter Steventon.

When a second crew arrived soon afterwards, the decision was made to get the baby to hospital as quickly so Peter gathered the baby in his arms and carried him to the ambulance.

A veteran of 18 years in the ambulance service, Peter said: “He was so tiny, the paediatric bag and mask practically covered his whole face.

“I wasn’t getting a perfect seal, each time I was resuscitating him I could hear air escaping around his face, so I decided to carry out mouth-mouth CPR, using two fingers for compressions on the chest.”

En route to the hospital they established good ventilation for the baby and a pulse.

“I found him blue and lifeless and now he was starting to ‘pink up’ and coming back to us,” said Peter. “It went through my head at that point that this baby might pull through.”

Arriving at Epsom Hospital, he handed Cody to a crash team who were standing by.

Anna described the moment she saw Cody in hospital: “It was a shock to see every kind of tube coming out of him, he was on a ventilator and wasn’t responding to anything.

“At that stage doctors asked us if we wanted to get him Christened. But we decided not to in the hope that he would pull through.”

Cody 1A brain scan cast doubt over his long-term development and medics warned his parents that he may never be able to walk. After weeks of intensive treatment Cody was taken off a ventilator but his condition left him with cerebral palsy.


Nearly four years on, after gruelling physiotherapy at countless clinics and strong support from his family, Cody is able to walk and talk and a scan has revealed that his brain has recovered. His miraculous progress has meant he is aiming to go to a local primary school in September.

Anna said: “He’s a fighter. Everyone has said his recovery is due to the fast treatment at the beginning. If it hadn’t have been for the fast response, our lives could have been very different.”

The family decided to Christen their brave battler Cody Peter, partly to honour SECAmb’s medic.

“We wanted to wait until Cody was more his own person before getting him Christened,” Anna said. “By having Peter as his middle name he can never forget what Peter did to save his life. It’s also my late father’s name too so it seemed fitting.”

Peter confessed he was a bit emotional at the Christening and being reunited with Cody: “He ran up to me and wrapped his arms round my leg. When the vicar spoke his name, Cody Peter, I got goose bumps. It was definitely a ‘wow factor’ moment.”

The Technician added: “There is a saying that ‘every second counts’ and this case shows it really does, started off by Anna’s early intervention of CPR assisted by instruction from our 999 control staff; then the rapid arrival on scene and the transfer to a fully briefed receiving hospital crash team.

“I believe this could have had a very different outcome if Anna was not so aware of basic CPR and proves that early CPR can make the difference between life and death.”

Members of the public and employers can book First Aid courses and learn more about keeping a healthy heart by visiting and selecting ‘Our Services’.

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