June 23 was just a normal day at the Balfour Beatty community pool on Luke Air Force Base. That was until one medical officer overheard a child say, â€œWhatâ€™s wrong with him; is he dead?â€
Capt. Andrew Hoeffler, 56th Medical Operations Squadron family nurse practitioner, noticed there was a child submerged and not moving on the bottom of the pool.
â€œI immediately jumped into the pool, retrieved him, and placed him on the pool deck,â€ Hoeffler said. â€œI assessed his pulse and breathing; both were absent.â€
Using standard procedures, Hoeffler said he performed CPR, including rescue breaths.
â€œAfter two cycles of compressions and rescue breaths, the boy began breathing on his own,â€ he said. â€œHowever, the breathing was labored and low in respirations. For a few more minutes, I provided assist breaths until his respiratory rate returned to normal.â€
Then, paramedics arrived from on and off base and began rendering aid, Hoeffler said.
â€œWe placed a nasal airway and put the boy on 100 percent oxygen,â€ he said. â€œEventually, the 5-year-old was flown from the scene to Phoenix Childrenâ€™s Hospital by helicopter. He regained consciousness and was discharged the next day fully recovered with no lasting effects from the incident.â€
Although Hoeffler has performed CPR numerous times during his 20-year career in the medical field, he said this was the first time doing CPR as a bystander.
â€œThe skills I used in this situation were very basic,â€ he said. â€œAnyone can get the training at their local American Heart Association or American Red Cross training center.â€
Col. Yolanda Bledsoe, 56th Medical Group commander, said she is extremely proud of Hoeffler.
â€œAs medics, basic life support or CPR is a critical link in emergency situations,â€ she said. â€œWe train frequently to ensure we maintain our clinical skills, so when unfortunate events like this happen, we are ready to render medical care.â€
However, medics arenâ€™t always going to be present when emergencies occur. This is why Bledsoe said she urges everyone to take a CPR course.
â€œCPR courses can ensure you are prepared for the next emergency,â€ she said.
After becoming certified in CPR, trust the training, and use it when necessary, Hoeffler said.
â€œOnce trained, you need to act if you see someone in trouble,â€ he said. â€œRemember, the people you are most likely to save are those you know and love.â€