Cara Virginia Gillespie

Story Vault

"I received a 911 call from a frantic mother stating her baby was not breathing. The child had complications after birth and was sent home on a breathing monitor. When the baby stopped breathing the monitor alarmed. After confirming the baby was unconscious and not breathing I instructed the mother to begin CPR. She gave all the directions to the father who performed CPR. As she was crying, I heard the father counting 1, 2, 3, 4 in the background. This family lived in the county near the Indiana/Ohio state line so it was about 25 minutes before our crew was going to be there and I wasn't sure when the county unit would be on scene. After about 5 minutes of reassuring the mother and making sure CPR was being done, she gave the phone to her husband because she could no longer talk. Once the father took the phone, the call changed. He was calm. He was precise and listened to every word I said. For the next 13 minutes, I encouraged him, I kept him calm, and I instructed him to continue to help try to save his baby. I will never forget this call because it made me realize that even though I could not do anything physically for the patient, I can always help comfort and instruct the distraught caller. It changed how I viewed my position as an emergency call taker. I no longer saw my position as someone who answered phones, but as someone who had the ability to change an outcome of a dying patient."

- Cara Virginia Gillespie, TRAA - Paramedics Plus