WAYNESBORO, Pa. – Christina Schultz and her husband knew something wasn’t right with their two-month-old, Sammy, the morning of Oct. 9, 2018. He had recently been fighting a cold, which the second-time parents realized wasn’t cause for great concern. But when he displayed lethargy that morning and was difficult to wake, they knew they were dealing with something more serious.
The Warfordsburg couple ventured into Maryland before heading north toward Chambersburg Hospital. They were in Zullinger when Christina called 911.
Within minutes, Waynesboro Advanced Life Support – Medic 2 and other emergency services personnel arrived.
“I’d never seen a baby that white before,” said Denver Kerns, a paramedic with Medic 2. “(I was afraid) that the baby was dead or was not going to survive.”
The team assessed Sammy quickly and realized he would need flown out, but around the time LifeNet81 landed adjacent to the ambulance, Sammy went into cardiac arrest. Because he was in cardiac arrest, he couldn’t be flown from the scene. Emergency crew members estimate the tiny baby’s heart stopped for about two minutes.
Schultz watched helplessly as crew members worked to resuscitate her son and said she felt relief when Medic 2 Technician Lisa Heaster gathered her in a hug and reassured her the team was going to help her son.
“It was a huge comfort when she grabbed me – she really calmed me down.”
“There was a lot of brain in the back of that ambulance – a lot of knowledge,” noted Heaster.
“A lot of praying, too,” added Kerns.
The ambulance arrived at Waynesboro Hospital’s Emergency Department within minutes.
“When he got to us, he was white. He was limp,” said Nancy Bates, registered nurse and clinical coordinator in the Waynesboro Hospital Emergency Department. “It was a scary day.”
“He had a pulse, but he was very, very sick,” added Dr. Michael Faretta, an emergency department physician at Waynesboro Hospital.
He said that through the flurry of activity, staff members remained calm as they provided life-saving measures and worked together toward their goal: stabilize Sammy so he could be taken to a pediatric facility offering the specialized care he needed. The effort took about 80 minutes.
“No one left the room the whole time. We were fortunate we didn’t have another critically ill patient at that time,” recalled Dr. Faretta.
“Dr. Faretta did an amazing job,” said Bates. “He was calm – he was just amazing.”
Sammy was flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center and, soon after, to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. After a being evaluated, doctors found Sammy has an immunodeficiency and cardiac aneurysm.
Saying ‘thank you’
On Thursday, over seven months after watching emergency services personnel and emergency department staff save her baby’s life, Schultz stopped by to thank them and show them the thriving baby Sammy is today.
“I couldn’t believe how well you guys coordinated with each other. I was amazed. To me, you guys did the most important work – keeping him alive,” she told them.
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