Quick work by family saves boy

December 26, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- For paramedics, it was the best kind of Christmas present.

They were sent to a home yesterday where a child had fallen into a swimming pool. They expected the worst.

Instead, they found a wailing Andrew Nachtwey -- saved by the family's quick work and instructions given over the telephone by a Broward County paramedic.

The 2-year-old boy apparently opened a sliding glass door and slipped out of the house Christmas morning. His mother, Gail, found him floating in the chilly water.

An uncle home on leave from the U.S. Navy, Robert Choate, called 911 for help. His call was patched through to Julie Shockley, a Broward County, Fla., paramedic working the phones.

"She told us everything to do," Choate said. "She was very helpful."

"I told them to get the phone near where the medical attention was needed," Shockley said. "They had the child out of the pool, but he was blue."

The boy's mother breathed into his mouth. He vomited.

"I told him to roll him to his side and wipe his mouth out," Shockley said. Another breath went in. This time, Andrew cried.

Shockley, who has 10 years of experience as a paramedic, started working with the county's caller-aid program about six months ago. She said the hardest part of helping is getting hysterical callers to calm down enough to follow instructions.

"Just because you talk to them doesn't mean they're listening," she said.

Andrew was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, where he was admitted in stable condition, a hospital spokesman said.

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