‘He wasn’t blue. He was white.’

June 12th, 2012 | Comments (0)

Rescue workers said it took more than 12 minutes to restore life to a 2-year-old boy found at the bottom of a swimming pool.

Two-year-old Jude Antoni was dead.

If not for a neighbor, a fireman and six paramedics, he still would be.

Pulled from the depths of a backyard swimming pool, Jude “wasn’t blue. He was white,” neighbor Kristen Schmidt remembered. “He wasn’t breathing. There was no pulse.”

Schmidt would know. Schmidt knows trauma.

As an emergency room nurse, the 39-year-old mother of one is used to working under pressure. But this wasn’t the ER. This was the boy next door.

“This experience was just so different,” Schmidt said. “This little boy – he and my son they look so much alike they could be brothers.”

“In the ER, you have other people to help you,” she continued. “And this was all happening on my lawn.

“Jude’s father, Sandy, came over and asked if we knew where his little boy was and we all just went looking for him,” Schmidt said. “First, I went across the street. When I came back to the house, I remember seeing Jude’s father in the pool. And I saw my husband lifting Jude out of the water.

“I couldn’t even tell you how long I was there on the lawn,” she continued. “My husband called 911. I remember the dispatcher had all these questions he wanted my husband to answer on the phone and I just kept screaming to him, ‘Just tell them to get here!’ And then I would make compressions and breath, compressions and then breath, compressions and breath. I just kept going.”

When the paramedics arrived, Schmidt said Nottingham volunteer firefighter Rob Sponheimer “just scooped Jude up. They had him in that ambulance right away.”

Inside the ambulance, Sponheimer joined paramedics Tom Topley, Christopher L. Adams, Michael Armstrong, Lindsay Brescia and Edward C. Copper Jr. perform CPR on the little boy for more than 12 minutes, they said.

” He was dead,” Topley remembered. “I know we worked on him for more than 10 minutes. I don’t know when he finally responded, it may have been in the hospital.”

In cases of pediatric drowning, Topley said paramedics often need to continue CPR until the body warms up enough for emergency drugs to start working.

“Your first job is to secure the air in the body and the CPR circulates that oxygenated air in the body,” Topley explained. “We just kept it going.”

The drowning was so traumatic for the crew that a psychologist was called in the next day to counsel them. “A pediatric drowning can be a once in a lifetime call and it’s a hard one. It would be a difficult experience for anyone,” Topley said.

“In this case,” he added, “I don’t think this boy would still be alive if not for the teamwork – the fact that we had a nurse right there, next door, and the work of a fireman and paramedics right there for the handoff.”

The rescue happened on May 29, 2008. For their efforts, Schmidt, Sponheimer, Topley, Adams, Armstrong, Brescia and Copper all were named “Real Heroes of Bucks County” by the American Red Cross.

The experience has changed the lives of the Schmidt and Antoni families forever, they said.

It can be very disturbing at times to be a paramedic, Adams said. “When things are tough, I kind of think back to Jude. It’s nice to get a happy ending once in a while.”

Jude’s mom, Julie, still struggles to comprehend the “miracle.” Jude was in the hospital for several months but made a full recovery, she said.

“What science tells us about what should have happened that night and what did happened – they’re just two different things,” she said.

Bucks County Courier Times