Toddler Goes into Cardiac Arrest at Mall. Off-Duty EMT Drops Everything & Rushes Over


Charles Grover, 41, was having lunch with his daughter at a shopping center in Coventry, England, when he heard a woman screaming from the nearby cafeteria.

A crowd was beginning to form around the woman, so Grover and his daughter began to head for the exit nearby.

But as they walked by, he realized the woman was holding her unconscious 2-year-old daughter in her arms.

“People were beginning to gather around her so we made our way towards the exit past her. However, as we passed by I saw that the woman was holding a little girl and I could see immediately that the child was not breathing,” he explained.

An off-duty student paramedic, Grover immediately rushed into the gathering crowd and explained to the mother and staff that he could help.

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After the mother agreed, he placed the girl on the floor to begin administering CPR.

“Leaving my own daughter in the care of the centre security team and with the mother’s permission I took the little girl from her arms and placed her on the floor,” Grover said.

“She was clearly in cardiac arrest so I told the security team to call 999 and to fetch the AED which I happened to know was in the shopping centre’s security control room.”

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Thankfully, the mall was one location in the city that provided a defibrillator for public use. Within seconds, Grover had the machine and quickly attached the pads to her body in order to locate her pulse.

“The AED analysed the rhythm instructing me to deliver a shock to the patient,” he explained. “I did this and then checked for a pulse. There was no pulse so I continued CPR while relaying information to the member of security making the 999 call.”

“At the end of the second round of CPR the AED analysed the patient again and instructed me to deliver another shock.”

Finally, Grover was able to find the young girl’s pulse. But noticing that she was still not breathing correctly, he continued to administer CPR.

“I then realized that she was not maintaining a regular breathing pattern, so I continued with rescue breaths to get her breathing back up to normal.”

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Within five minutes, paramedics were on the scene and took the girl in an ambulance to the hospital. Thanks to Grover’s quick reaction, she was able to make a full recovery.

According to the American Heart association, “For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation … the chances of survival decrease by 7–10 percent.” Grover’s use of CPR and the defibrillator before the paramedics arrived gave the two-year-old girl her best possible chance for survival.

The student paramedic also explained how important the use of a defibrillator is, and how simple it is for anyone to use. “There is no doubt that medical training gave me the confidence and skills to intervene, but basic knowledge of CPR and resuscitation techniques would have been fine. The AED is intuitive. I followed its lead and thankfully there was a happy outcome.”

Thankfully this story did have a happy outcome, and it is stories like these that show us all just how important basic CPR training can be in an emergency. Situations like these aren’t limited to trained medical professionals — with the right training and tools, anyone can step in and save a life.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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