Who is prepared to help the tiniest overdose victims? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Who is prepared to help the tiniest overdose victims?

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WARREN, Ohio -

Warren police detectives are continuing their investigation into how a nine-month-old girl was able to ingest some type of opiate before overdosing on Thursday.

But we wanted to know just who is trained to save the tiniest victims at a time when the opiate and heroin crisis has reached epidemic proportions.

Dawn Wrask, the Clinical Services Educator with AMR or American Medical Response Ambulance Service in Youngstown, tells 21 News that it is mandatory that all paramedics maintain certification for CPR, including pediatric CPR certification as a health care provider.  They receive that certification every two years.

Wrask also said that most fire departments in the Valley also have that training, and a number of police officers pay for the pediatric CPR training on their own because they are often the first on the scene.

A supervisor with Lane Ambulance tells 21 News along with the CPR, and pediatric CPR training, they are also trained on how to use Narcan for adults and for infants and children as well when it comes to opiod overdoses.

In the Warren case on Thursday, it was Detective Nick Carney who was only a few miles away when he heard that a nine-month-old baby girl was in trouble and that the baby was not breathing and her lips were blue.

Carney rushed to the Douglas Street NW home and repeatedly admnistered infant CPR until the child began breathing again.  Truly saving the baby's life.

Doctor John Venglarcik applauds the police officer's life-saving work. "Kudos to this officer.  Let's sit down there and point out the heros in this," Venglarcik said.

Dr. Venglarcik said infant or child CPR is one way you can definately save a childs life, and Naloxone, or Narcan as it's often referred to, can also be used safely on infants if they're not born to mothers on drugs, and after the child's first month of life.  But only in small doses and only if you are extremely careful.

"And that has to be given intravenously, especially children as in this one, where the child was in dire straights," Dr. Venglarcik said.

Medical experts say if you find a time where you are faced with an emergency and your training has to kick in, it's important to stay calm.  Paramedics also recommend that you call 911 rather than transport a child in a car.

That's because 911 operators are trained to talk you through pediatric CPR, saving critical minutes and possibly saving a life.  

Kristen Gallagher with the American Red Cross of the Valley agrees.  "Once the baby is not responsive, you would cover the mouth and nose of the infant and you would give real light breaths, almost like a puff, rather than a big breath like we would for an adult," Gallagher said.

While giving CPR to a child, you would blow into their nose and mouth far more gently because their lungs are not fully developed and you wouldn't want to damage a lung.  You would also only want to use two fingers on their chest rather than two hands to give compressions so that you don't risk breaking a rib on a baby.

Meanwhile, Dr. Venglarcik is sending out a challenge to public office holders, health officials and lawmakers in the tri-county area by demanding they do something more than just talk about the problem.

"How many elected officials and public officials and public health officials in this county are willing to spend a big amount of financial resources to sit down there and reverse this situation for one child?" Venglarcik said.  "I'm calling people out on this one.  It's a challenge.  You want to sit down there and make sure this stuff doesn't happen again.  What are you going to do about it," Venglarcik added.

Dr. Venglarcik goes on to say, "You have got to make sure that everybody who's readily available to these children are trained to do the right thing otherwise, and I hate to use this term, but otherwise these are disposable children.  That's a horrible thing to say, but if you're not going to devote these resources, these kids are disposable lives."

If you would like to learn more about how to administer pediatric CPR the American Red Cross has a mobile phone app, or you can sign up for classes at your local local American Red Cross just log on to www.RedCross.org or call 1-800-Red-Cross.

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