NO SMALL FEAT
November 18, 2015
By Josh McFadden
Lakewood, Colo., resident Nicole Bechtle can’t thank enough the 911 dispatcher who walked her through the steps to bringing breath back to her young son.
On an otherwise routine day this past June, Bechtle had just finished feeding 3-month-old Zane when a parent’s worst nightmare occurred.
Zane was turning blue and not breathing.
Thank goodness a cool-headed, experienced dispatcher was on hand to help.
Bechtle picked up her baby, finding him to be limp. As she described it, he was “like holding a ragdoll.” Her immediate reaction was to begin CPR, but it had no effect. So she dialed 9-1-1 and was connected with West Metro Fire dispatcher Kim Quintana.
Despite finding herself in a perilous situation with her infant son’s life in jeopardy, Bechtle was composed and cooperative. Her ability to keep her emotions in check was vital.
“She was great,” Quintana said. “She was very calm and listened.”
Bechtle reported that Zane was unconscious and not breathing. Without hesitating, Quintana followed the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) Protocol and guided her through CPR.
Bechtle’s knowledge of CPR made Quintana’s job easier, and it helped give Zane a better chance of survival.
“She was able to follow the instructions and keep up because she was familiar with what to do,” Quintana said.
Two minutes into CPR, a glorious sound came from Zane’s mouth: a wailing cry. Though not normally the sound people love to hear, in this case, the crying was music to Bechtle’s ears. Quintana was relieved as well.
“It was a sweet sound to hear—the little whimpers and squeaks he started to make,” Quintana said.
Once the cries came, Quintana knew Zane was going to make it.
“I am happy for mom and the baby,” Quintana said. “I concentrated on keeping calm so I could keep her calm. It’s extremely gratifying when you’re able to make a difference, to help save a life.”
Quintana’s supervisor, West Metro Fire Rescue Communication Manager Karyn Kretzel said Quintana handled the call exactly how she has been taught.
“Kim was very compassionate and calm as she helped the mother with CPR instructions,” Kretzel said. “Kim remained a source of strength and hope during this difficult time.”
Of course, dispatchers field a multitude of calls every day—some more intense than others. But Quintana, who has been with West Metro during her entire 15-year career, strives to exhibit the same professionalism and compassion with each call, regardless of who it is or what the emergency may be.
“I like to keep my composure on all calls, whether it’s a child or an adult,” she said. “Most people only call 911 once in their lifetime, and I want that experience to be as great as I can make it and as helpful. Like everyone else at West Metro, I’m here to serve my community and to make a difference for those families that depend on us to help them when they need it most.”