A police constable who carried out vital first aid on a Northampton baby, has described the dramatic dash to hospital that saved her life.
Pc Dec Gabriel, from Northamptonshire Police, was in police car at a crime scene near Kingsley Park Terrace on Saturday night when he saw a woman in distress.
He sprinted over and having been told the child was having breathing problems, he performed first aid before speeding the baby to Northampton General Hospital (NGH).
He then went with her into A&E where doctors said his actions had probably saved the 12-month-old’s life.
Pc Gabriel, who has now been recommended for a commendation, told the Chron: “I saw this limp, lifeless girl, something I had never seen before in my life.
“I put her on to her back and checked her airway and I saw her tongue had rolled back into her throat.
“I reached in with my finger and flipped it out the way.”
What came next, he said, was “the best sound I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Pc Gabriel said: “It was the sound of life.
“She was sick a little bit into my hand and did this wheezing cough but I thought that was unbelievable.
“I knew she wasn’t out of the woods but, fingers crossed, she was going to be okay.”
Pc Gabriel emphasised that, apart from the first aid, the life-saving operation had been a team effort. Pc Amy Diment, who went with him into the house, opened doors and cleared family members and objects from Pc Gabriel’s path so he could run to the car.
She also radioed a squad car into position so it was ready to speed away.
He was then assisted in the car by Pc Aaron Cox. And it was Pc Andy Lee whose driving got the car, under blue lights to NGH, in exactly three minutes.
Reliving the dramatic journey, Pc Gabriel said: “She was cradled in my arms in the recovery position, in and out of consciousness.
“I thought at that point I may be carrying a dead baby here.
“I was saying ‘Chloe, darling, please wake up, we are going to get you there. We are going to get you help’.”
Chloe’s mum, Rachel, followed the police to the hospital and quickly knew how important the police and medic’s teamwork had been.
On the Chron’s Facebook page, she said she had “never been so scared”.
She added: “Thank you, Declan, for saving my daughter’s life.
“I owe you everything.
“She is still here thanks to you. I can’t thank you enough, and the other police lady.
“I’ll always be truly grateful. You’re a true hero.”
PC Gabriel said: “She spoke to us at the hospital and said she wanted us to be rewarded.
“I’m really pleased but she owes us nothing.
“My role is to save life and limb, with crime fighting a separate bit.
“It is what I signed up for.
“I would say that I hope people who have said all these lovely things about what we did take action. It’s very easy to sit behind a keyboard and comment, but what I’d love is if they also resolve to learn first aid and pay this good deed forward to someone else.
“That’s how I’d like them to thank me.”