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Award for saving a baby’s life inspires Karikari community

Media Release 24 September 2013

Award for saving a baby’s life inspires Karikari community to offer CPR lessons

An act of courage in saving the life of a two-month old baby with CPR skills has not only earned NorthTec nursing student Caroline Snowden the prestigious Royal Humane Society of New Zealand (RHSNZ) citation, but has also inspired her Far North, Karikari Peninsula Community to offer CPR lessons.

In December 2012, just two weeks after being taught CPR by her instructor Ron Liddicoat, Caroline had to rush to a house nearby in Whatuwhiwhi and call on all her newly acquired lifesaving skills for over 20 minutes to successfully resuscitate a baby boy who had stopped breathing.

The presentation of the RHSNZ certificate, in recognition of her efforts, was made to Caroline (18 September) at her Haititai Mairangai Marae at Whatuwhiwhi by NorthTec tutor and New Zealand Resuscitation Council instructor Michael McGivern.

“By applying skills in CPR which you had only recently acquired in your first year as a nurse trainee, you successfully resuscitated the baby, who was then transferred by ambulance to Starship Hospital,” the RHSNZ citation, signed by President Austin Forbes (QC), says.

“Your humane and praiseworthy action in providing that assistance thereby contributed to saving the life of the baby boy.”

Chair of the New Zealand Resuscitation Council, Dr Richard Aickin (FRACP FACEM) acknowledged that CPR could be a very distressing and anxiety promoting experience, particularly if the outcome was unsuccessful.

“Resuscitation under any circumstance is stressful. The situation whereby you provided life support to an infant whose life was in imminent danger is a truly remarkable achievement,” Dr Aickin says.

“Your efforts alone ensured the survival of this young life. You provided high-quality resuscitation with courage and leadership. We have no doubt that your experience will inspire others to equip themselves with resuscitation skills, thereby benefiting increasing numbers of New Zealand families and communities.”

Caroline says while deeply humbled and honoured to receive the award she says she was pleased that Mr Liddicoat had provided her with the learning she needed to resuscitate the baby.

“No disrespect to those who nominated me and to NorthTec, but I really didn’t feel I deserve to be awarded anything. To me, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time with the right skills,” Caroline says.

“I was very reluctant to tell people about it, I didn’t want to make out I’m anything special, because I’m not, but for me all glory goes to God, but I am very grateful and very humbled by this now.”

She says she has formed a special bond with the baby boy and felt a sense of protection for him.

“The young man concerned, I am very protective of his identity just because of the situation. I have spoken to his mum when she came over to see me sometime afterward and I have been keeping contact with her to see how he is doing, and he is doing well.”

Although a reluctant hero, Caroline’s achievement and recognition has had an immediate impact on her community with the Karikari Peninsula Charity Trust’s John McMahon generously offering to fund the teaching of CPR skills to community members at the Haititai Mairangai Marae.

Caroline also won the gold medal at the National Council of Student Māori Nurses Hui in Nelson in May for her exemplar presentation on her resuscitation experience.


Click for big version.

NorthTec Tutor and New Zealand Resuscitation Society instructor Michael McGivern with Caroline Snowden and her CPR instructor Ron Liddicoat.

ENDS

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