Dougan, a paramedic since 1999, said Brayden had no pulse, wasn’t breathing and his lips were blue. Dougan said she had been baby sitting Brayden for his mother, Faith Goodson, who was running errands.
Dougan said she was in the approximately 15-foot-by-15-foot above-ground pool with her back turned to Brayden as she talked to a friend whose 5-year-old son was also in the pool. Dougan’s 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son were standing just outside the pool.
Dougan said as she got out of the pool, Brayden, who was wearing an inflatable Spider-Man inner tube, was lying face first in the pool and not moving. Dougan estimated Brayden had been that way for about two minutes and didn’t realize he had been in danger.
“I’ll never live with myself,” she said.
Dougan said she placed Brayden on the wooden deck beside the pool and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him.
“I didn’t know if I could bring him back, but, obviously, I’m going to do what I can for a child, let alone my best friend’s child,” Dougan said. “I love him and I’m responsible for him.”
Dougan said she performed CPR for six to eight minutes. She performed 30 chest compressions followed by two breaths, which is standard for children between 1 and 8 years old, according to the American Heart Association. “Time stood still,” she said.
Brayden didn’t initially respond to the chest compressions and breaths but then began to spit up water. Dougan said she rolled Brayden on his left side and he began labored breathing with one breath about every 20 seconds.
Dougan said she did more compressions and Brayden coughed up more water and began to breathe more regularly. Brayden was listed in stable condition at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland on Thursday night.
Firefighters arrived at the home at 3:03 p.m. Thursday, according to fire Capt. Paul Sadowski. He said firefighters might have been too late to save Brayden if Dougan hadn’t performed CPR. If CPR is performed immediately, children have a good chance of survival.
“Their lungs are healthy. Their heart’s healthy,” Sadowski said. “As soon as that airway clears and they get oxygen in, then their little bodies kick right in.”
A shaken Dougan said she realizes how precious life is. Dougan, a 33-year-old mother of six, said her 2-year-old daughter suffers from metabolic mitochondrial disease — an incurable cell disease — and the disease killed three of her children. Dougan, of Avon, works in the pediatric emergency room at University Hospitals in Cleveland and said she realized how close Brayden came to dying.
“It really hits you, but I had to stay calm because nothing is going to help him if I flipped out,” she said. “I didn’t think he was coming back.”
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.