How to Save a Life

October 03, 2017

In 2016, a colleague approached Marketing Manager Vandana Thomas about joining T-Mobile’s Emergency Response Team. And, Vandana being Vandana, she agreed to sign up. Like all ERT volunteers, she took part in emergency first aid training where she learned how to respond to and treat everything from anaphylaxis to heart attacks to burns. A year a half later, during a recent trip home to Goa, India, Vandana was thrown into a situation where that training saved a life. This is Vandana’s story as told to T-Nation.

VANDANA: My family and I were on holiday in Goa to visit my mother. But she wasn’t well. She needed a holiday. So, we all went to a nearby beach resort. Goa is like a little Hawaii. Lots of sun and beaches. The resort was only 20 miles away from home, but we thought it would be a nice break for my mother. We were all staying in a little corner of the resort tucked away from the main hotel.

It was around noon on a Sunday. We would’ve been at the pool, but I was trying to help with a presentation for an upcoming meeting back in Bellevue. I was finishing up, and everyone was gathering their things to go. My husband was the first to hear the noise outside.

He opened the door and we saw a woman running down the hall with a child in her arms. I stepped into the hall, and she stopped and asked me, “Do you think my child is alive.” To be asked that question … “Do you think my child is alive” … by a mother. It still shakes me.

If I’d hesitated at that moment … but something took hold of me, and I took the baby. She was wet. She was completely unresponsive. She had no pulse. I could see she had water in her mouth. I leaned her forward and patted her back and a little water came out.

Then I began doing CPR. After the third set of breathing and pressing I heard a very weak breath. Hearing that … it was almost an out-of-body experience. Until then, we’d all feared the child was dead.

I kept the CPR going. A man arrived a few minutes later — a Canadian on holiday who had been a lifeguard. We began alternating and, 10 or 15 minutes after that, the child began crying.

The emergency staff arrived about that time. We were so far from the main building, it took that long. The mother wasn’t sure she should let anyone take the child from me, but I gave her to them, and they took her to the hospital.

After they left, I was without any energy. Completely. My own children had been watching. They said, “Mom I didn’t know you could do that.” I said, “I didn’t know I could do that either.”

The child was in ICU for two days. Her mother sent me a video of her playing at the hospital. The doctors said that, without CPR, she would have died. I kept thinking, “What if she hadn’t survived?” I still ask myself that question all the time.

When you take the training, you never think of having to use it someday. It’s powerful in retrospect, to know that it worked. If I’d stopped to think about it … but I just began and it all came back.

Since then, I’ve talked with friends about CPR and first aid training. I encourage everyone to do it.

T-NATION: You saved a life.

VANDANA: I don’t know that I did … but … everything that needed to happen fell into place. I feel so thankful that I took that training. And I’m so thankful to T-Mobile for giving me the training to save a life.

For information about the Emergency Response Team and first aid training at T-Mobile, please visit [LINK].