Nurses were at the right place at the right time to assist a child who stopped breathing.
The seizure left Snead's daughter limp and lifeless. Her lips were blue, and she wasn't breathing. Snead called 9-1-1 and gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but he couldn't sit by and wait for the ambulance to arrive, so he raced his daughter to the Melfa volunteer fire department where it just so happened that ten Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital (RSMH) registered nurses were taking a Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) re-certification class. The continuing education class is required for ICU and ER nurses every two years, and on this day it would reinforce skills that would save 10-month-old Janiecia Snead.
The PALS class had just returned from lunch after a morning of instruction when Snead's truck sped up to the fire house blaring its horn. The class ran out to the truck and soon realized that both of the fire station's ambulances were out responding to calls. No one was there to help but the PALS class. Snead yelled that his little girl wasn't breathing, and he handed Janiecia to the class instructor, Norman Pool, of Northstar First Response, Inc.
"I had never seen my daughter like that. She wasn't breathing," said Snead, who lives in Melfa. "I thought the good Lord was going to take my baby that day. She was turning blue. I didn't know what in the world to do."
Pool repositioned the girl to open up her airway, and she began breathing again. She was very hot to the touch, so the nurses undressed her to her diaper and placed cool rags on her.
Meanwhile, Susan Henry, a nursing supervisor for
"So many factors lined up for success – we were able to reposition the child and re-establish her breathing; we just happened to be having a class at that firehouse on that day; we were back from lunch just in time," said Annette Hempel, Nurse Manager for the RSMH Intensive Care Unit and one of the class members that day. The situation was dire she said, "it could have turned out differently."
The nurses who attended the class and assisted in Janiecia's care were Hempel, Heather Arndt, Jennifer Boston, Crystal Harris, Jenna Henderson, Susan Henry, Cynthia Melson, Debbie Robbins, Aarika Turner and Cheryl Warren. While these seasoned nurses use Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) and PALS regularly in the course of their jobs, they were in the class that day because keeping skills up-to-date is a
"Even when our team members are 'off duty', they are valuable resources available to support this community," said Dr. Susan McAndrews, Administrator at
Because of the care Janiecia received that day, Snead was able to celebrate with his daughter on her first birthday on January 1.
"God knows, I am so grateful for those nurses being there that day," Snead said. "I would like to see each and every one of them so I could thank them myself. I appreciate all they did for me. They handled themselves very professionally. All I had to do was bring the child in, and they took over. God bless them all."
Published: January 8, 2014