First Responders who Saved Drowning Boy Honored
By Whitney Cyr
August 7, 2013
On the afternoon of July 19 at the Hamilton Village apartment complex, it was Su Cui’s first day on the job as a lifeguard. Having only been in the country for 20 days, Cui and a fellow lifeguard didn’t realize it was a day that would be life changing for them and for one of many of the swimmers in the pool
After hearing a call for help, both Cui and David Shulman, rushed to the aid of a 10-year-old boy who was drowning in the pool. Their quick thinking, along with a quick response from police, fire, ambulance and Life Flight services saved the boy’s life.
Framingham town selectmen honored the lifeguards and the first responders at the selectmen meeting on Aug. 6.
“It is the town’s pleasure to honor the fire, police, ambulance, Life Flight and the very first responders, two lifeguards,” Chairman Dennis Giombetti said. “It is an honor to recognize the heroes who saved the life of a ten-year-old boy.”
Fire chief Gary Daugherty praised all of the first responders in his description of the events on July 19. “One lifeguard pulled the boy from the pool and performed rescue breaths while the other called 911. Upon arrival, the first responding crew found the lifeguard with the ten-year-old boy, who had been under water for two minutes,” he explained. From there, he was rushed to an ambulance to Framingham High School where Life Flight had landed to bring the boy to the hospital.
Daugherty said the boy was in critical condition, but he was swiftly taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. “Once there, the patient’s condition stabilized,” he said. “From our understanding, the boy has made a full recovery.”
Daugherty spoke about the fluidity of the first response system, which saved the victim’s life.
“This is a perfect example of why we respond the way we do. It’s an example of the outstanding safety system where we’re working together as a while,” he said. Daugherty recognized the support from the town that allows the first response system to perform it’s lifesaving duties.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said, “when you think about this incident, it takes your breath away.” Ryan said drowning was the leading cause of death of children in Middlesex County this summer. She also said across the country, every day, there are 10 drownings, two of which are those under the age of 14.
“I can’t stress vigilance of caretakers enough,” she said. “Mr. Cui, as I understand it, just started the job. That hyper vigilance is what helped them spot a child in need.”
Ryan praised the reactions of the first responders. “We talk all the time of coordination of efforts, and this is the perfect example. The plan was executed flawlessly between the lifeguards, police and fire departments and Life Flight.”
Cui said when he first heard the cries of help, he kept calm, pulled the victim out of the pool, checked his pulse and remembered his training. He administered rescue breaths instead of CPR, according to his training. That swift thinking helped keep the boy alive.
“Some parents asked my supervisor why we didn’t do CPR,” he said, “As a professional lifeguard, we do our job, and we need other people to believe in us.”
Cui was quick to point out he was just one part of the system that helped save the boy. “It’s not just to honor me,” he said, “it’s an honor to everyone. It wasn’t only one person there, we needed the police and the fire department.”
As a whole, Cui said the incident teaches everyone a very important lesson, “Cherish the life of a child and as an adult,” he said.
Among those honored at the meeting included both lifeguard Cui and Shulman, police officer James Girotti and Brian Blue, firefighters Scott Young, Brian Morgan, Lt. John DeGiacomo, Scott Studley, Deputy Fire Chief Anthony Pillarella, paramedics Steve Rowland and Ken Reynolds as well as Life Flight medic Andrew Castellana.