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Parents performed CPR to 13 day old son while being guided by 911 dispatcher

Pediatric First Aid CPR
Pediatric First Aid CPR is important to young parents

Bill Schammert's voice broke during a nightly TV program in January as he explained why he'd been off the air for a few days.

Cameron, his 13-day-old son, was sick with the sniffles when it all started. The pediatrician recommended bringing him in for a checkup just to be safe.

They were never able to get there. Bill spotted Cameron gasping for air after fastening him into his car seat.

His wife, Kym, unbuckled Cameron and helped him out of the car as Bill dialed 911. Dispatcher Lisa Pachunka asked a series of questions to analyze the situation.

When it became evident that Cameron needed CPR, Pachunka inquired as to whether Bill or Kym were trained in the procedure. While they had learnt it three years previously during prenatal courses when Kym was pregnant with their oldest son, Theo, their thoughts went blank in the heat of the moment.

Pachunka coached them through it, with her voice coming from the phone's speaker.

She demonstrated how to properly perform infant chest compressions by placing two fingers in the center of the chest, about a half-inch below the nipples, and reminding them to breathe into Cameron's lungs with their mouths covering his entire nose and mouth.

The first few rounds were completed by Kym, who alternated 30 compressions with two breaths. Bill then took over for the next two rounds.

Cameron finally let out a cry. His skin turned pink once more. Paramedics arrived seconds later and transported Kym and the baby to the nearest hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, followed by Bill in his car.

At the hospital, doctors tested Cameron for flu, COVID-19, and a variety of other viral diseases. All of the tests were negative. After a chest X-ray revealed that his lungs were obstructed, doctors advised him to seek treatment at the Omaha Children's Hospital.

Because of COVID-19 procedures, Bill and Kym were unable to accompany Cameron in the ambulance to the hospital.

Cameron's oxygen levels were still fluctuating when Bill and Kym arrived at the hospital.

His sniffles were gone the next morning, and his oxygen levels were back to normal.

Pachunka is quickly credited with saving Cameron's life. Bill made plans to meet her once they came home.

"It was quite emotional," Pachunka said, adding that he had never met a client before and was grateful to Bill for arranging it. "As much as he claims I'm a hero, he deserves credit for being a fantastic father in that situation."

Bill requested a few minutes of airtime on his first day back at work to tell his story. He wanted to raise awareness about the necessity of practicing CPR in addition to honoring Pachunka, the first responders, and the medical experts who cared for Cameron.

"These aren't difficult to learn," Bill explained, "and they could save a life."

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