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Good Samaritans save youngster from drowning

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 26th, 2013

From left are Dr. Dennard Ellison, Jesus Felix, Molli McBride, Arreli Felix, and Mary Lambert.

HOOPER – Thanks to CPR training classes at Trinidad State Junior College and the quick response of Mary Lambert, Dennard Ellison, MD, and two anonymous good Samaritans, young Arreli Felix of Monte Vista was saved from what could have been a fatal swim at Hooper Pool.

With her parents, Jesus Felix and Molli McBride, Felix, who will turn 4 on July 4, met her saviors on Monday during a surprise visit to Dr. Ellison’s office at the SLV Regional Medical Center, SLVRMC.

While at a birthday party with friends on Sunday, June 9, Felix reportedly slipped off the side of the pool where she was sitting and fell into the water. Lambert, who was swimming nearby, was approached by a young boy who said that he “saw a girl fall in the pool.”

Lambert, who works as the Colorado Preschool Coordinator at the Gingerbread House, immediately dove to action.

After Lambert failed to retrieve Felix on two separate dives, a second pool patron dove in and was able to bring the young girl to the surface. Video recorded during the day later confirmed that Felix was under water for four minutes.

“She didn’t have a pulse,” said Lambert, who was trained in CPR at Trinidad State Junior College by instructors Jeff and Geneva Torr. Lambert conducted CPR twice on Felix.

“The first time, she just spit out a lot of water. The second time, she spit out more water and opened her eyes.”

This was Lambert’s first time conducting CPR in an emergency situation.

Once Felix came to, Dr. Ellison, who serves at SLVRMC as an ear, nose, and throat specialist, took care of her until the ambulance arrived. Felix was then flown to Children’s Hospital in Denver and has since recovered completely.

“What bothers me is that I was swimming around the deep end for awhile and didn’t see her,” says Lambert. “I just wish that everyone knew CPR.”

“I wasn’t there,” explained McBride, “but I realize now that I wouldn’t have known what to do if I was there.”

Felix’s parents shared that while they were at Children’s Hospital, another young child was there who had drowned. Although the emergency medical response time was faster for the other child than it was for Felix, the child reportedly did not survive.

“I know Arreli is here because there were people trained in CPR at the pool.” said McBride.

“(CPR training) is especially important since we live in such a rural area,” said Kelly Gallegos, who helped facilitate the meet up between the Felix family, Lambert, and Dr. Ellison and serves as the Director of Risk Management at SLVRMC.

“Even if you call 911 immediately, there still might be a delayed response because of your location. In this case it’s clear that Mary’s CPR training made all the difference.”

For information on CPR classes offered by Trinidad State Junior College, call Jeff Torr at 589-7175 or email jeff.torr@trinidadstate.edu.

During the academic school year, CPR classes are offered once a month. TSJC’s certified trainers also offer CPR training to interested groups and organizations at their own location.

For information regarding additional EMS training opportunities at TSJC, call Deb Haverfield, Program Director for EMS, at 589-7046. For classes offered by SLVRMC, call Dawn Weed at 587-1422.

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