Off-Duty Responder Saves Life of Drowning Boy
South Coast News via YellowBrix
July 13, 2011
BEDFORD – An off-duty New Bedford firefighter and a Cranston, R.I., police officer performed CPR and saved the life of a 3-year-old boy who nearly drowned Saturday in a pond at Myles Standish State Forest.
Raymond Ryan, 40, the firefighter, performed compressions while Officer Mallory Reis, who was also off-duty, held the child’s head steady and kept his airway open.
Lori Lee, a child care provider, swept the boy’s throat and cleared it of food.
While doing the compressions, Ryan said the child showed some encouraging signs: He attempted to breathe, ejected water and food a few times and began to cry.
The child’s recovery has continued in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and Ryan said the boy is expected to be released this week.
Ryan said the family is declining interviews and Plymouth police said Tuesday they aren’t releasing the child’s name.
Ryan said the boy was one of “at least 20 kids,” who were part of a large family gathering at the pond.
Plymouth Police Capt. John Rogers, the department’s public information officer, said Ryan performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on the child after the boy was found in shallow water in Curlew Pond in Plymouth.
Without timely CPR, the boy might have died, Rogers said.
“I think (Ryan) acted admirably. His quick actions probably averted a tragedy,” Rogers said.
Stacey Perry, a friend of Ryan’s wife who was at the pond, said Ryan kept his cool despite a chaotic situation.
“He knew what he was doing and what he needed to do,” she said.
She said the boy would have died had it not been for Ryan and Reis. “It was very heroic. I think he’s a great, courageous man,” she said.
For Ryan, everything about the rescue is a miracle.
He wasn’t even supposed to be at the pond. He was home waiting to hear if the department needed him to work Saturday night before deciding on a whim to spend a few hours with his wife, Margaret Ryan, and stepdaughter, who were camping there at Myles Standish Forest.
Ryan, who lives in Fairhaven and is an Iraq War veteran, said he was talking with friends at the pond when he heard commotion in the water. People were screaming for someone to call 911 and asking if anyone knew CPR, he said.
Ryan said the child wasn’t showing any signs of life when the boy’s 10-year-old sister pulled him out. He said the child wasn’t breathing, his eyes were fixated and he was turning blue. But after Ryan started compressions on the boy’s chest, the child started to revive.
“This kid is resilient. He’s a fighter,” he said. “Someone is watching out for that kid.”
Ryan said later that night the emotions of the day hit him like a ton of bricks. A father and a stepfather himself, he said he thought about his loved ones.
“I was a mess,” he said, noting he was wondering if the boy was going to survive.
He said he hasn’t seen the child since Saturday but wants to meet him at some point.
“I’m glad this had a positive outcome and I’m glad I had a part in it,” he said. “It’s a good feeling.”
He said he had no hesitation about getting involved.
“I told my wife if I can save one life, I had a successful career,” he said.