When 4-year-old Maurice Venus was pulled from the bottom of Maitland’s Roth Family Jewish Community Center’s pool he wasn’t breathing. No chest movement. No response. No pulse.
Less than 30 seconds after the 9-1-1 came in at 12:45 p.m. on Aug. 23 to report a possible drowning, two Maitland police officers were on the scene.
Minutes later, Maurice was breathing again. His pulse beat strong in his carotid artery.
Thanks in part to the quick action of Maitland police officers Nickolas Lawrence and Ryan Quinn, Maurice sat happily fidgeting in the Maitland City Council Chambers last month to watch the uniformed duo receive awards for helping to safe his life.
Once on the scene, Lawrence immediately opened the lifeless boy’s airway and began CPR-standard chest compressions while Quinn worked nearby to control the crowd – including the boy’s mother, Tillie Venus.
“I will never ever be able to repay you,” Tillie said choking back tears as she addressed the officers at the Sept. 14 meeting. “Our family will always been indebted to you and that’s why we consider you family now.”
“Thank you so much for saving our baby.”
Seeing Maurice smiling in City Hall, less than a month after his near-drowning, served as an example as to why CPR training is so important for not only law enforcement officers to have, but also members of the general public, said Maitland Fire Chief Kim Neisler. Members of her department also received recognition for providing life-preservation assistance once they arrived on the scene at the JCC and helped transport Maurice to the hospital.
“This is a clear example of where minutes and seconds count,” Neisler said. “They made the difference between life and death.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. Statistics show that every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of those, two are children aged 14 or younger. In all of these cases, the CDC says that the more quickly CPR is started, the better the chance of improved outcomes.
The Maitland Fire Rescue Department is providing free CPR training to the community on Oct. 13. Participants can learn CPR for adults, children and infants, AED training and how to handle choking emergencies. The training will be from 5 to 9 p.m. at Maitland City Hall. The class is currently full, but residents can add their names to a waiting list by emailing [email protected] or by calling 407-539-6226.
Next week, the Maitland Fire-Rescue Department is hosting a CPR training class at Maitland City Hall where residents can get trained in CPR for adults, children and infants, AED training and learn how to handle choking emergencies.
Chief Neisler encourages all residents to get CPR certified, so if the situation arises they can be prepared to help save a life. She said the sooner a bystander can step in to start CPR before emergency personnel can respond, the better the chances that the person who’s in need will have a positive outcome.
“My goal is that we train one person in every household, and that we keep holding these classes until we reach that goal however long that takes,” she said.
Maurice’s father, Sam Venus, the medical director of critical care at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, said he’s well versed in the importance of quick action during medical emergencies, and thankful that the Maitland police officers reacted the way they did when the call about his son came in.
“It takes a system to save a life like this. It doesn’t happen by chance, it doesn’t happen by luck. It happens because the system is supported,” he said. “… It pays off and it certainly paid off for us. And [the Maitland police and fire departments] have our gratitude forever for the way that it paid off for us… for giving us the outcome that we were lucky enough to get.”