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Natalie to the rescue: Emergency nurse saves baby on her way home

June 16, 2015

Recently, Natalie Speirs found herself in the right place at the right time – with the right expertise.

An emergency department registered nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital for the past six years, she was walking home when a frantic mother ran from her house calling for help: her baby was not breathing. Natalie rushed to her aid and quickly assessed the situation.

“The child was not breathing or making any noise,” said Natalie. “It was clear that something was obstructing her airway. I could tell that she was about one year old, so I grabbed her and went back to my basic first aid training. I administered two back blows to the little girl and she immediately began to cry – thank goodness!”

The baby’s mother, on the phone with 911 at the time, was in a state of panic.

“I tried to reassure her that crying was a good thing, because it meant air was getting through,” Natalie recalled. “This is the one time you really want a baby to cry.”

Moments later, police and paramedics arrived and took over. The girl was taken to Sick Kids where a hair clip was suctioned from her throat. She is already on the road to a complete recovery, thanks largely to Natalie’s quick response and training.

Natalie feels she just did “what any registered nurse would have done”, but her experience as an emergency nurse was valuable at a time when every second was critical.

“It was pretty scary, especially because it was a child and I normally care for adults,” Natalie notes. “But in the moment I just stayed calm and relied on my training, like I do every day. I didn’t overthink it, I just reacted. We train and re-train constantly, so first aid and CPR become second nature – and that came through when I needed it. “

“We’re all so proud of Natalie for taking swift action when she saw someone in need, stepping into an unexpected and high-pressure situation and helping save a life, “ said Dr. Howard Ovens, Chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai. “I’m glad Natalie didn’t take the bus that day!”

The baby’s family was very grateful for Natalie’s timely assistance.

 “I stopped by the house the next day to check in and see how everyone was,” said Natalie. “They had a thank you card ready for me – it was so thoughtful that they wanted to be prepared just in case I came back. I’m just so glad that I was able to help, and that the baby will be okay,” said Natalie. “It’s certainly an experience that I’ll never forget.”