Dispatcher talks about harrowing 911 call that saved child's life

Sherry Thompson
Sherry Thompson

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Shelby County 911 dispatcher credits teamwork with helping her to save a young Memphis child from drowning.

"I knew I had to remain calm to help this lady to help her baby," Sherry Thompson said Friday.

Saturday morning, Thompson was on shift in the Shelby County 911 Dispatch Center when she answered the frantic call.

"We don't know how to do C.P.R.," the child's mother yelled. "Please help us!"

Over the span of the ten minute call, Thompson kept the child's mother calm, telling her how to perform C.P.R. on her child until firefighters arrived.

When the call was over, Thompson took a minute to reflect on what had happened.

"I cried," she said. "I really did, because I felt the compassion for the mom. Her panic. Because I'm a mother. And I cried, especially when the firemen told us that the baby had a heartbeat."

Dispatchers in Shelby County take nearly 15,000 calls per year, constantly training for calls like Thompson received Saturday.

"I couldn't have done that alone," Thompson said. "I had to have a partner there to dispatch the apparatus. The firemen had to get there to continue the resuscitation, as I said. And the ambulance service had to continue the patient care."

In the end, for one Memphis child, that teamwork came together to save a life.

Now, all the time, do we do it perfectly? No," Thompson said. "But this time, it was pretty much perfect. And we're proud of that, as a team."

At last check, the young victim was still at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, recovering from his injuries.

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