Police officer, 2 nurses rescue drowning boy
June 18, 2012
SULZBACH-ROSENBERG -- It can happen in an instant. A mother looks over her shoulder for mere seconds and in that moment her child begins to drown. Screams ring out and three complete strangers without a common nation, language or background, coordinate seamlessly to save a life; a 4-year-old is given a second chance.
Four weeks ago, every parent's fear struck Birgit Mueller. She looked over to see her son, Moritz, floating face down in the pool at the Waldbad swimming area, here.
As Mueller pulled her son's body out of the water, his face was already turning a light shade of blue from lack of oxygen.
Just a few feet away at the pool's edge, Christine Pickel, a nurse from the nearby St. Anna Krankenhaus, rushed to the scene. Evelyn Schmidt, an ICU nurse from the Amberg Klinikum, soon joined her. The two women began chest compressions.
Alarmed by the sounds of distress, Lt. Shane Krantz, a Department of the Army civilian police officer for U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, ran from across the complex and joined the two nurses.
Schmidt looked up and said "Ich bin Krankenschwester," telling Krantz in German she was a nurse.
Krantz replied in German that he was a police officer.
"That's all the communication we had," said Krantz. "After that we just went to work."
Schmidt continued chest compressions as Krantz began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Krantz couldn't say how long they worked on the boy.
"Everything went into tunnel vision at that point," said Krantz. "We just worked together to do what we could to resuscitate him."
Moritz's condition was worsening as he lay beside the pool. His body went from a shade of blue to gray. At first Krantz was unable to get air into the boy's lungs, but he didn't give up.
"The boy was vomiting and we held him on his side," explained Krantz, putting gravity to work on Mortiz's small frame, pulling any excess water out his body. "After a few moments I felt his stomach moving, he was breathing on his own."
The boy was then taken to the Amberg hospital to recover. Krantz visited him a few days later.
"I needed closure," said Krantz. "I needed to know that he was OK."
Moritz has already made a full recovery and is back to being a spunky kindergartner. No residual damage is expected according to the health professionals who looked after him.
While Krantz played an instrumental part in saving the young boy's life, he does not consider himself a hero.
"Police officers aren't just guys that lock people up," said Krantz. "We have a concern for mankind, to preserve life."
In his 12-year span as a police officer, Krantz has saved many lives. In Henrico, Va., he resuscitated an infant during a traffic stop. When responding to a shooting in a housing complex, Krantz found a teenager had been shot in the head. While the victim would not survive, he was able to keep him alive long enough for his organs to be donated, in turn saving the lives of others.
For Krantz, saving lives, it seems, is all in a day's work.
"It's my job," he said, shrugging his shoulders. "It's what we are trained to do."