A dad will be eternally grateful to a passing firefighter who helped save his baby’s life on his first day of looking after him by himself.
Scott Purchase, of Great Sutton, was in sole charge of little Henry as his partner Daisy Dunning returned to work as assistant headteacher at nearby Sutton Green Primary School following maternity leave.
But he panicked when three-month-old Henry suddenly stopped breathing at 11.45am on the morning of Tuesday, February 13.
Incredibly, Jason James, temporary crew manager of the White Watch at Ellesmere Port, happened to be passing by in a station vehicle when he saw the distraught father outside his Saltersgate home frantically flagging him down.
Jason’s calm advice was to turn the baby on to his front, hold him in one arm and then pat his back – Henry responded and started to cry. The firefighter then called for an ambulance but the procedure had to be repeated as the baby stopped breathing several times while he was on the phone to the 999 service.
Scott, 29, a chef, cannot thank Jason enough for his timely intervention.
He said: “I was excited about looking after Henry by myself for the first time, but when he stopped breathing it was undoubtedly the scariest moment of my life.
“I was very lucky that the firefighter Jason James was passing by. He basically saved my son’s life.
“He knew what to do and came into the house, called the ambulance and talked me through the CPR. He was also able to calm me down as I was in a bit of a flap.
“I am eternally grateful for what he did that day. I could never repay him, and the same goes for the ambulance staff for getting to our house so quickly.”
Mum Daisy, 31, dashed home from work when Scott called to say their only child had stopped breathing and turned up as paramedics were treating Henry.
She said: “The hospital believes it was a case of silent reflux, whereby milk comes back up the oesophagus causing the epiglottis (a flap that prevents food/liquid going down windpipe) to close off momentarily, meaning that the baby is unable to breathe.
“They advised us to reduce Henry’s milk intake, ensure that he doesn’t drink it too fast and to keep him upright so that the milk goes straight down.
“Henry went into hospital at noon and was home by 8pm and has been fine ever since.
“I can’t thank Jason James and our neighbour Dave Hodder, who was also there, enough for all the help and support they gave Scott when he was understandably in a real panic. He has never dealt with anything like that before and it was a frightening experience.
“I also want to thank the ambulance service for turning up so quickly and for the fantastic service they and the hospital gave to our family.”
Jason, 47, from Tarporley, said: “I was just passing by in a station vehicle when the distraught dad Scott came out of the house with baby Henry and flagged me down.”
Jason added: “I have been in the fire service for 28 years. I have received first aid and trauma care training, which covers what to do when children and babies aren’t breathing, so I had some of the knowledge needed in this set of circumstances.
“If the situation required me to take Henry off Scott and treat him myself I obviously would have done, but as it turned out that wasn’t necessary.
“The ambulance turned up very quickly, in three or four minutes, and I was so glad to hear that night that Henry was okay and able to go home.
“It was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time to help. Perhaps it was fate and I was meant to be passing by at that time.”
Steve McCormick, station manager at Chester and Ellesmere Port community fire stations, said: “I am really proud of Jason for helping to save the baby’s life.
“The trauma training that firefighters receive will have helped him, but I can’t praise Jason highly enough for the way he put that training into action and kept a level head and stayed calm under such pressure with a baby’s life at stake.”