Secaucus, N.J.- A 5-week-old baby almost lost his life. That is until a hero saved his life.
No, it wasn’t a football star or an actor dressed in a silly cape. This hero is one of many that often go unnoticed.
New Jersey Police Officer Mikhail Kowlessar carries a badge, and did what police do – save lives.
It was a phone call from a desperate father that brought Officer Kowlessar rushing to the house. The father told dispatchers that his son couldn’t breathe. Several officers arrived at the home on Mallard Place at about 8:40 the night of Oct. 7. The five-week-old was not breathing and his mother was administering CPR.
Officer Kowlessar stepped in as if this was something he did on a daily basis. He took the newborn from his mother and swiftly administered “back slaps.” This is what he had learned with his training. Luckily, the infant spit up some clear liquid and started to breathe on his own.
The baby was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center and was discharged the next morning. At the time of the press release, the infant was doing well.
Chief Dennis Miller said of the incident:
“First, I would like to commend the parents of this infant for their ability to follow the directions of the Emergency Medical Dispatch and initiate CPR. I would also like to recognize the responding police officers, especially Police Officer Mikhail Kowlessar. Police Officer Kowlessar utilized his training and performed flawlessly, which undoubtedly saved this infant’s life. I am extremely proud of him.”
Kowlessar, a former 911 dispatcher, joined the department in 2018, Secaucus’ Patch network reported. He recently graduated from a bicycle patrol school, which allows officers to patrol areas not easily accessible by car, according to a Facebook post from the Secaucus Police Department.
Secaucus is roughly about an hour east of Trenton, the state capital of New Jersey. It’s about half an hour west of New York City. According to City-Data.com, the population in 2017 was 20,215.
The Secaucus Police Department posted this on Facebook and gained 148 reactions, 22 comments, and 51 shares.
One of the commenters, who claimed to be Officer Kowlessar’s wife said:
“SOOO proud of my husband ❤️❤️❤️ love you!! Keep making us proud! SOO happy the baby is doing well ”
She wasn’t the only one proud of Officer Kowlessar’s actions. Many people were:
“Incredible! Great job Officer Kowlessar. Thanks for your service and for saving this baby’s life!
“Thank you Officer Kowlessar for stepping in to help the baby boy. May God continue to bless you and watch over you.🙏
“Congrats to the officer! Great job! Keep up the appreciated good work! We need the police.”
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Kowlessar is one of many who wear the superhero badge to save children. On Aug. 3, a rookie police officer in Upland, DE, about an hour and 45-minute drive south on I-95, saved the life of an unresponsive newborn.
Officer Jonathan Keeny shrugs off the hero title. He says what every real hero says, “he was only doing his job.” The 21-year-old officer has only been with the Upland Borough Police force for a year.
Charmaine Freeman, baby Mecca’s mother, recalls the moment:
“I just kept asking him, ‘Is she going to be okay? Can you save her? Can you help her?’”
Freeman realized her two-week-old daughter stopped breathing. She said:
“I was feeding her. I stopped feeding her. I went to go burp her and maybe like five minutes after I burped her, I realized she wasn’t breathing.”
Freeman immediately called 911. Officer Keeney arrived within minutes, since he was only a block away. She went outside on the porch.
“Officer Keeney came speeding to the rescue, jumped out and I want to say he jumped right into action, took her out of my arms and he performed a miracle because my baby wasn’t breathing.”
Keeney’s CPR training was still fresh in his mind. His years of lifeguarding before becoming an officer provided him with the magic touch.
“I applied a sternal rub, which was ineffective. Then just gave a couple back blows to the baby, [she] ended up vomiting up anything that she had left in her system and started breathing again.”
Mecca’s cries were a relief to both her mom and Officer Keeney. He even admitted:
“It was a big relief on my part. All that was going through my head was just to get the baby breathing again.”
Freeman was full of gratitude. She said:
“I would just thank him a million and one times. I can never repay him for what he did yesterday. If it was not for him, yesterday could’ve turned out completely different. He is truly our hero here on earth.”
Keeney says he’s no hero, just an officer using his training to serve and protect. He added:
“Best job in the world. I get to help people as much as I can. I enjoy every second of it.”
Freeman says Officer Keeney even stopped by after she got home from the hospital with Mecca to make sure that she was okay. She is hoping he stops by again so that her daughter can have a photo with the officer who saved her.
Madison East District Officer Andy Deuchars is being credited with saving the little girl’s life. He rushed to a home on Jupiter Drive around 3:30 p.m. on July 29 after the infant’s mother called for help.
Her three-month-old baby was not breathing. The baby’s mom was already outside with her daughter as he arrived. The mother was “very frantic, and crying.”
“I immediately observed (the baby), whose eyes appeared like they were bulging out of their sockets … was not making any sounds … and appeared very rigid in (her mother’s) arms.”
After asking if he could take the baby, Deuchars described what happened next. He said he turned the baby:
“…over on her belly, cradling her head in my left hand, while her body ran along my left arm. I delivered five back blows between her shoulder blades.”
Deuchars tells NBC15 News in an interview:
“I immediately knew she wasn’t breathing, so I asked the mom if I could have the baby so I could render aid. This is why we do the job. To try and help people.”
Then, using two fingers Deuchars gave her several chest compressions. A few more back blows and the little girl started crying. She had appeared to spit up some baby formula.
Madison Fire Department paramedics were able to take the infant to the hospital where she could be checked out.
Deuchars credits his training for allowing him to take action immediately. Afterward, he was a little shaken up. But, he’s glad the baby is doing okay.
“I went into this job to help people. So any day I can do that in a meaningful way, it’s a fulfilling day.”
These sentiments seem to be shared as we meet a hero in St. Louis.
St. Lewis County Police Officer Wesley Pierce rushed to the aid of a baby who wasn’t breathing in July.
Pierce admitted that:
“No officer, paramedic, 911 operator, they don’t want to receive that phone call that just over a week-old baby is not breathing.”
Pierce responded to that call on Del Lago Drive in north St. Louis County.
Officer Pierce, also a father, said:
“That’s one of the worst nightmares that any parent could have.”
Bodycam video shows the officer running to the home where newborn baby Taylor was starting to turn blue.
“Mom handed the baby over to me and I listened to the Central County Fire Center dispatcher, who gave me instructions on what to do. So I really give him all the props; he helped me through it.”
In the video, Pierce is seen placing baby Taylor on the floor, pressing down on her chest, and giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, all at the direction of the dispatcher.
“At first I was scared and nervous.”
In the video, Pierce pleads with Taylor to start breathing again:
“Come on sweetie. Come on baby. There you go, baby.”
After multiple times of pressing down one inch on her chest:
“Halfway through, I look down and she still was turning purple.”
Just a few moments later, it’s the sound everyone was waiting to hear:
“Shortly after that, the baby starting crying, mom was ecstatic, I was ecstatic.”
Paramedics arrived at Taylor’s home and took her into the hospital for a few nights.
Taylor’s mom said Taylor was discharged Wednesday and will have to undergo further sleep testing to find out what is causing the baby’s irregular breathing patterns.
Back in New Jersey, in July, a police officer saved an unresponsive baby girl born in a train station. Officer Bryan Richards of the New Jersey Transit Police Department, responded to a “medical event” in the women’s bathroom at Newark Penn Station.
He didn’t anticipate that when he arrived, the baby, cradled in her mother’s arms wasn’t breathing. She was turning gray.
Richards took hold of the newborn and began chest compressions, but quickly realized the “dire need for immediate medical care.”
Richards and another officer, Alberto Nunes, rushed her to the hospital in their police cruiser.
As Nunes drove, Richards continued chest compressions. Shortly before they arrived, the baby began to breathe.
In a video of the incident, a small cry can be heard before the baby is brought into the hospital.
A video surveillance camera recorded a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Cameron Kinsey save an unresponsive baby from choking to death during a Black Lives Matter protest in May.
The 11-month-old boy’s mother and another woman were attending the protest on May 31 in Palmdale, CA. The baby boy lost consciousness and stopped breathing, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The women ran across a supermarket parking lot to a group of sheriff’s deputies. Those deputies were monitoring the protest from across the street.
Deputy Kinsey ran toward the women when he realized they were in distress. The mother handed the baby to Kinsey who “administered a mouth sweep with his finger and dislodged vomit.” The baby began to breathe again to the relief of everyone there.
Kinsey said about everything taking place at the time:
“None of that other stuff matters. Just the baby.”
Paramedics arrived, and they took the child to a nearby hospital where it was determined the boy had swallowed a coin. The coin had lodged in his throat and blocked his airway. Kinsey’s finger sweep turned the coin sideways. This helped the child breathe again.
Despite all the vilification of police, the truth of the matter is that they are the quiet heroes, saving lives every day.
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