CPR learned for work saves a toddler's life at the lake
Chrissy Dykstra dutifully went through CPR training five times for her job as a dental assistant, always hoping she’d never need to use it.
In fact, the only thing she’d used from the training was what to do if someone was choking, a skill that came in handy when her kids were learning to eat as babies and toddlers.
Last summer, those two-hour training courses paid off in a big way for a 2-year-old boy.
Chrissy, her husband Matt and their two kids were enjoying a Sunday afternoon at Lake Shawnee, near their home in Topeka, Kan. They’d taken a break from a bike ride, with Matt taking the kids to a playground while Chrissy relaxed and watched the bikes.
As she leisurely checked her Facebook account from her phone, Chrissy heard shouting near the water. Then she saw a man running toward people on the path, pleading for someone to call 9-1-1. Just beyond him was a woman carrying a little boy dressed only in a diaper, his body limp and his face blue.
Chrissy threw her phone to the ground, ran over and yelled, “I'm trained in CPR!” as she snatched the boy from the woman’s arms.
All those years of training helped her spring into action. She laid the boy on the ground and checked for responsiveness and breathing. Observing neither a response nor breathing, she began chest compressions, being careful not to use her full force since the boy was so young.
After just three chest compressions, food, water and blood spewed from his mouth. She rolled him to his side and used her hand to clear out his mouth. She returned to giving chest compressions; she started giving breaths as well.
Each time, more fluids flushed from his body, so Chrissy continued the sequence of rolling him to his side and clearing his airway. Her husband Matt eventually came to her side, cheering her on, while rubbing the boy’s arms and head telling him he was going to be OK.
After four sets of chest compressions and breaths, the boy began to wheeze, a sound Chrissy will never forget.
“I got goose bumps all over,” she said. “Almost immediately, the blue color of his body was replaced by pink and orange.”
Chrissy performed CPR for about 2 minutes in total, though she says it felt “like it was forever.”
“I still get a knot at the back of my throat when I think about it,” she said. “Thank God I was there and had that training.”
Another bystander had called 9-1-1, and their timing was great. An emergency medical team arrived just after the boy began wheezing and took over from there. The boy, whose name Chrissy never learned, was taken to the hospital for further observation.
After she got home, Chrissy texted her boss to say thanks for paying for the CPR training that had prepared her to take the life-saving action.
Ever since, Chrissy has been spreading the word about the importance of learning CPR, including at a local city council meeting that recognized her heroism.“I encourage everyone to get trained,” Chrissy said. “I never thought I’d have to use it, but I was so happy that I could.”