Source: Sherman Publications

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Orion firefighters save two-month-old

January 29, 2014

By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

For Orion firefighter Eric Florance, it was all kind of a quick blur.

He was the second to arrive on scene to the M'Atamney residence, where two-month-old Allison was reported as not breathing.

"It seemed like five minutes from start to finish, but it was obviously a lot longer than that," Florance said of the rescue.

Orion Township resident Keith M'Atamney and his wife said there was no lead up to their daughter's cardiac arrest.

"It was 9:30 p.m. and my wife and I were watching TV with the baby, and the baby just stopped breathing," M'Atamney said. "We were just holding her and she stopped breathing."

He started CPR as his wife dialed 911.

Station 4 Lt. Kevin Myszenski arrived to the scene shortly after, before Florance, and confirmed both her pulse and breathing were absent. He took over the CPR, and when Florance arrived the two switched on and off adding back thrusts. Other Station 4 firefighters arrived to the scene and assisted until Allison spit up, coughed and began breathing again.

Florance held her in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

"By the time we got to the hospital you wouldn't have even known that she had been in any cardiac arrest," Florance said.

Florance said not many cases of very young children and cardiac arrest turn out well.

 "We were all pretty relieved, pretty excited that we were able to get a positive response from her. I have a 2 1/2 year-old and a 4-year-old, and Lt. Kevin Myszenski has three children himself, so it hits you a little closer to home when you have a small child," Florance said.

Fire Chief Bob Smith said the first call from dispatch reported a female not breathing, and when the next call reported it was a two-month old, everyone's adrenaline spiked.

Chief Smith and Assistant Fire Chief John Pender acknowledged the Station 4 firemen, six in total, with certificates of recognition at the Township board meeting Monday, January 20.

"I couldn't be prouder of these guys for the actions they did that night," Asst. Chief Pender said. "We have two guys, one has only been on for two months, and the other has only been on for six months, and they did such a good job for their first calls," Pender said.

It turns out

baby Allison had developed pertussis (the whooping cough) which had caused her to stop breathing.

"You don't get their vaccinations until they are two months old, and she was actually scheduled to get her immunization the next day," M'Atamney said.  "It's tough on kids, and even adults, but on infants who haven't been immunized it's particularly deadly. They can die from the lack of oxygen. It's important to immunize."