Source: MyCentralJersey.com Bridgewater
Theresa Reinel is on a mission. After the Morganville resident’s three-year-old son Joey suffered cardiac arrest at a party in August, Reinel feels charged with getting the word out about the need for everyone, particularly teachers and parents, to know and be certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
He had been his typical self at a baptism celebration in Old Bridge for the child of Reinel’s oldest friend. He was a little “punky” when he woke up from a nap in the car and complained that he didn’t want to be at the party, but a cookie and playing with his twin brother Julian distracted him.
Then, Joey fell to the floor.
“Julian told him to get up — he shook his arm, but it flopped,” Reinel said. She ran over and remembered her CPR training from 25 years ago. Her father Stanley Paczkowski joined her. “I started breathing on him while my dad did compressions.”
Paczkowski said, “The whole time I was doing it, I was thinking, ‘I’m doing CPR on my three-year-old grandson. This isn’t going to end well.’ The angels were with him.”
Though it felt like “forever,” Old Bridge police and emergency medical services arrived within seven minutes. Joey would go in and out of consciousness — the defibrillator was used about half a dozen times. In all, Joey (he and Julian were born prematurely) had no response for 15 minutes and 23 seconds. Once responders got a faint heartbeat and stabilized the little boy, he was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
While there is no definite diagnosis, Joey is currently on medication and beta blockers, and has had a defibrillator implanted. “He’s likely to be on heart medication for the rest of his life. But he is here — our sweet, shy, silly, and sometimes stank face little boy is still with us. And for as long as we have with him, we will be eternally grateful!”
Reinel would like all teachers to required to be AED- and CPR-certified: currently state law dictates that five staff members for each facility must have certification. Reinel also suggests communities come together to offer CPR education. “When sudden cardiac arrest strikes, time is critical. Chances of surviving drop seven to 10 percent every minute without defibrillation. Every second counts — every minute.
“In two years, I will have to drop Joeu off at school and not know that there is someone within 20 seconds of being able to provide the compressions, at least. Learn CPR. Please. For your family, for your children, for everyone you love. Know about it. Learn about it. Take that class. You will never know how valuable it will be — until it’s needed.”