5-year-old Gatineau girl thanks first responders who brought her back to life
Published Tuesday, April 21, 2015 5:39PM EDT
It's not the emergency call anyone expected; a five-year-old Gatineau girl in cardiac arrest.
Today, two months after the event, Madeleine Frechette got to thank the men and women who saved her life. Madeleine had many heroes to thank today; the police officers who first responded, the firefighters and paramedics. But most of all, her big sister, who saw an emergency and reacted. She's cute as a button and appears to be the picture of health, as she runs into the Gatineau Police station. So who would have thought "cardiac arrest" when she collapsed on a visit to her grandmother’s house.
‘It was a complete shock,’ says Kerry Murphy, Madeleine’s mother, ‘we had no idea she even had a problem and the first thing we heard was that she was unconscious and we met them at the hospital.’
Madeleine, and her three sisters were visiting their grandmother at her Gatineau apartment building in February. As they were walking in, Madeleine suddenly collapsed.
While the two younger ones ran for help, 19-year-old Lydia sprang into action, calling on her training as a daycamp counsellor.
‘When I saw she didn't have any expression on her face,’ says Lydia Frechette, ‘I was shocked and I couldn't hear any breathing so I started to do CPR.’
Gatineau olice were first on the scene. They did several rounds of CPR, taking over from Lydia. Firefighters arrived with a defibrillator and administered a couple of shocks. Then paramedics arrived and repeated the procedure. But it wasn't until she was in the ambulance on her way to the hospital that they finally got a pulse.’
Today, for the first time, Madeleine met those first responders and got to see firsthand the results of their frantic efforts that day.
‘The last time I saw Madeleine, she was unconscious,’ recalls Gatineau paramedic Bruno Petrin, ‘and today we are taking a picture with her and she is smiling and she seems very good.’
Alex Collard is a paramedic in training and was tagging along with Petrin and paramedic Samuel Dubois when they arrived at the scene.
‘I already wanted to be a paramedic,’ says Collard, ‘but when you do a call like that you really see what it means.’
Police, paramedics and firefighters were recognized for their actions. So, too was big sister Lydia.
‘We knew what to do right away because of her information, says Gatineau police officer Lori-Ann Slattery, ‘She was really brave, really good to her little sister.’
‘I’m very glad she’s still here,’ says Lydia of her little sister Madeleine. The two hug at a news conference today at the Gatineau police station where Madeleine met with her heroes. Clearly her sister is her biggest hero.
Madeleine has since been diagnosed with a rare form of arrhythmia. She's on medication now, is being monitored and so far, responding well.