News anchor makes tearful plea for parents to learn infant CPR after newborn's health scare
Bill Schammert (pictured with Mrs. Kym and sons Cameron and Theo) draws attention to the importance of learning CPR in infants following his newborn's health crisis. (Photo :)
A news anchor's family fear in Nebraska has led him to heartily appeal to parents to learn how to perform CPR on their infants and children.
Bill Schammert, the nightly newscaster for CBS subsidiary KOLN-TV in Lincoln, Neb., Suffocated during his Monday night broadcast after returning to the news desk after his newborn son was hospitalized. When an emotional pain was passed on to viewers, his younger son, 13-day-old Cameron, appeared unwell on Jan. 5. He later turned purple and gasped as his father loaded him into his car seat. Although Schammert and his wife Kym received infant CPR training as part of their pregnancy prep a few months before their firstborn son Theo was born in 2018, he tells Yahoo Life that he panicked when he and Kym desperately called 911 for Help.
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"Especially when it's your own child - you're panicked and confused and don't know what to do," says Schammert.
Fortunately, a 911 dispatcher whom Schammert referred to as a "hero" on his now viral show was able to "walk us through it all" while he and Kym performed CPR on their son. She also sent paramedics shortly after Cameron started crying, a sign that the child was breathing again. Cameron spent the next 36 hours in the hospital, where a chest x-ray revealed an unknown viral infection in his lungs.
"[Doctors] believe he had phlegm that was clogging his airways and when he was 13 days old he didn't know how to expel, so he stopped breathing," says Schammert, adding that it was Cameron currently "going well". He's a healthy, normal boy right now. "
While the Schammerts were able to avoid a tragic loss, the journalist emphasized the importance of learning CPR from infants and children. He and Kym were given their own refresher course at the hospital with Cameron last week, watching videos and talking to a nurse about what to do in the event of another scare.
"I would encourage everyone - every parent, grandparent, guardian - if they haven't taken a CPR course to do so, and if they've taken one and it's been more than a year, it doesn't take too long to refresh," he tells Yahoo Life.
He adds that he and his wife plan to meet with the dispatcher who helped them save Cameron's life.
"911 operators really are the first line of defense," he says. "They are our first responders and they are so underrated and they shouldn't be."
He's also combed through the comments received from his show, many from other parents who shared their own scary experiences.
"The comments, the messages and the amount of support are unimaginable and I've read every one on Facebook and Twitter," he says. "When you go through something like this with your own child it can feel isolating and like no one understands what you are going through, even though I was told exactly the opposite. There are so many people who know exactly what we are going through and People who may have lost their child, who are so gracious ours survived, who share their survival stories and the impact CPR has on their lives, and that's mind blowing.
“The whole point is to let people know, that little thing, CPR, that 10-minute class you get once a year at work, or the 30-minute thing you learn before you have a baby Don't brush it off because you never know when you need to know and it really can - we are the proof - save lives. "
Infant CPR training is available online through the American Red Cross. (Photo: Getty Images Archive Photo)
Dr. David Markenson, chief medical officer of the American Red Cross Training Services, agrees that knowing how to provide first aid and perform CPR is critical for caregivers. He says, “In a potentially tragic situation, you can save a life if you are trained. "
It's also important that this workout be specific to infants and children, he adds.
“Because children's bodies and the way they work, especially infants, are different from adults, knowing how to help them is different, and the technique for CPR and some first aid steps is very different for a child and a child “He tells Yahoo Life. "While knowing what to do for adults is good, children and young children need specific training in CPR and first aid.
"Some of the differences that are important are where you put your hands on your chest [to do CPR] when a child is not breathing and not responding," explains Markenson. "An infant's right between the nipple line and you want to push hard and fast, but the depth of pressure in an infant is less than an inch and a half. If you're not exercising, it's best to push about an inch and a half as fast as possible between the nipple line, up and down, up and down. "
While he emphasizes that "the best thing you can do is get trained," relying on "the three Cs" can be life-saving in a pinch.
"We tell people to remember three things in an emergency, and it's easy to remember. The three Cs: check, call, care," he explains. "Check and find out what is going. Next, call 911 and then take care while you are trained. All steps are important and easy to remember, but we make it a point to call 911 early. This dispatcher will not only help you but also tell you what to do over the phone. "
He also recommends using the speakerphone to keep your hands free for compressions while a dispatcher guides you through the process. The Red Cross first aid app will give instructions and connect users to a 911 dispatcher using the speakerphone. Markenson emphasizes the importance of being trained in personal, hands-on courses. He assures that these will be safe and "perfectly clean" during the pandemic thanks to social distancing and the use of individual devices. However, online training is also available through the American Red Cross.
"While providing CPR or first aid to a child or child is a rare occurrence, it can happen," he says. "And of course, if you don't know what to do, the results can be terrible ... In the heat of an emergency, the biggest obstacle is the fear of not knowing what to do. Training enables you to do something to do. "
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Safe CPR Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Health professionals say cardiac arrest calls are increasing, but fewer bystanders are offering CPR. Officials encourage everyone to learn CPR by hand only.
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