Two San Diego police officers had to become emergency responders when they answered a 911 call of a baby who wasn't breathing and was unconscious.
In minutes, they saved the little girl's life.
On April 6, officers Robert Carlson and Thomas McGrath were close to the home when they heard the call come in over the scanner.
“The first thing you hear when you hear that call is, I just need to get there,” said Carlson at a press conference Monday. “Because we don’t know how long the baby hasn’t been breathing, we don’t know what the circumstances are, like most are calls we go to.”
Jessica Salas, the mother of the child, had dialed 911 after her husband woke her up, telling her their daughter Kendall was not breathing. He found the child suffering from a violent seizure for an unknown amount of time. The seizures were so bad, Kendall was unconscious and her face and lips were blue.
Carlson was first to arrive at the house, and McGrath came shortly after. Inside the house, the mother was crying and the dad was cradling Kendall in his arms, McGrath said.
Neither of them knew how to render aid, so the officers stepped in when they arrived.
“You could see right away she was blue…I grabbed the baby, put it down on my hand, almost like the baby Heimlich. Through my hand, I couldn’t feel any heartbeat,” Carlson said.
Carlson said in situations like these, no matter how much training an officer receives, they never know what to expect until they arrive on scene.
“You’re ultimately thinking, you’re just hoping you can help,” Carlson said. “You’re hoping you’re not getting there too late, that there is time to make a difference.”
Carlson proceeded to administer first aid until he heard labored breathing sounds. The paramedics soon arrived and took Kendall to Rady’s Children’s Hospital, where she was able to recover.
The officers said it is important for parents to be equipped with CPR skills so that they are able to make a difference before trained professionals arrive.
Now, a month later, Kendall is happy and healthy. Carlson said he saw Kendall recently, but he did not think she knew who she was.
Despite their actions, McGrath and Carlson said they do not consider themselves heroes.
“All we care about is in that moment can we make a difference and at least help somebody out,” McGrath said. “Going to the call, personally, I was afraid that I was not going to be able to do anything. That’s all we care about in that moment, getting there as fast as we can and helping somebody out.”
What they did on April 6, Carlson said, was a part of their job.
“We’re definitely not heroes,” Carlson said. “This is what we want to do, we’re here to help, we want to help people. It’s not anything any other person who has the tools and ability to help wouldn’t do.”
The officers said they plan to stay in touch with Kendall and her family throughout the years.
“I’d be lying if I said every time I drive past that street, I don’t smile,” Carlson said. “I park and want to say hi.”