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
Happiness, at your youngest son being born
three days earlier, turns to dread when he suffers a cardiac arrest
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.
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
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
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
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.”
A 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
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
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’
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 http://www.secamb.nhs.uk/ and
selecting ‘Our Services’.