I came across this heartening story while browsing the BBC News site.
A mother from Bristol resuscitated her baby boy four times when he stopped breathing – with the help of a 999 operator on the phone.
Driving instructor Cordelia Nolan, 25, said she was “petrified” when her 10-week premature baby, Emrys, lost his colour and turned blue.
Ms Nolan started resuscitation straight away and a cousin dialled 999 and relayed the operator's instructions.
I'm glad that the baby is doing well. If the baby had stopped breathing then the mother did exactly the right thing.
I can usually count on a few 'Baby not breathing' calls each week the number of calls that I've actually been to when a child hasn't been breathing can, thankfully, be counted on the fingers of one hand*.
Often the 'child not breathing' is actually a child having a febrile fit, by the time we get there the fit has normally stopped and the child is either asleep or crying. It's scary but incredibly common, when an infection is spreading through my area it seems that the only calls I go to are for febrile children. I sometimes joke to parents that the only children that I see are either fitting or vomiting.
During a febrile fit a child can get blue lips, if a child holds their breath they can get blue lips – blue lips tend, on their own, to be 'not terribly worrying' on the scale of things us ambulance types worry about.
Rather obviously a child who has blue lips is a scary prospect for a parent and so they, quite rightly, call for an ambulance. Sometimes they say that the child has stopped breathing, after all that's why lips go blue.
When we arrive the child has normally made a full recovery from it's breath holding, but as we are not doctors we recommend that the child comes in to hospital with us.
What is less common, but a bit funnier is when you have a drunk who has seen his friend 'die' and managed to 'save' him with a bit of CPR. Or as we like to call it 'waking him up by pushing on his chest'. A tip – if he's pink and trying to push you off he's probably not dead**.
*After an accident with a threshing machine.
**Except when you are doing really good CPR on a dead person and they open their eyes and look at you – it's only happened twice with me and it freaked me out both times – especially as neither of them survived.