A baby not breathing — every parent’s worst nightmare and the call many police officers dread.
When a call involving a child goes bad, that’s the type of thing that sticks with an officer for a lifetime.
So when such a call came in at 11:11 p.m. on Jan. 31, the Westminster police officer was praying for a happy ending.
Several calls came in from tenants at Motel 6 about a woman frantically screaming for help.
Her infant daughter was not breathing.
The little girl had been sick for several days and was running a fever. Her parents took her to a local children’s hospital for treatment and they had just returned home.
When the officer arrived on scene, the father shoved the little girl at him.
“She’s not breathing, save her,” the father pleaded.
The officer grabbed the little girl in the pink onesie.
It was dark so he couldn’t see if her skin was pale or blue, but he noticed foam around the baby’s mouth.
He laid the baby on the hood of his patrol car.
“I thought, if we were going to do CPR, we needed a solid surface behind her back,” he said. “And it was a cool night, and I felt like the car could keep her warm.”
As he laid her down the father pressed: “What are you doing? Why aren’t you saving her?”
But in waiting, the officer was doing exactly that.
With the baby on the hood of the car, he noticed the faint rise and fall of her chest.
“By putting her on the hood of the car, we were able to see that she was still breathing,” he said. “We could do a lot of damage if we started doing CPR at that time.”
The baby’s breath was very shallow and she wasn’t very responsive, so the officer turned the little girl on her side and watched.
“I was just praying that she didn’t stop breathing,” he said.
As the paramedics arrived, the officer and the family heard the best sound to possibly hear in such a situation — crying.
“That was a very good sign,” he said.
As the infant and her mother were taken to the hospital, the officers consoled the father.
“He kept saying, ‘I don’t know what we did wrong,’” the officer said. “We told him, ‘You did nothing wrong, you did the right thing. You came and asked for help.’”
When a call like this goes bad, it is devastating. And when it goes well, officers brush off any accolades because it’s just part of the job.
“This is just the type of everyday things that happen,” the officer said.