EDDYVILLE -- When their daughter, 2-month-old Tinsley, began to aspirate while feeding late last month, parents Sandra Taylor and Kenneth Burrus of Eddyville immediately called 911. And thanks to Eddyville Police Officer Shannon Oliver, the night ended in gratitude rather than tragedy.
Tinsley was born about a month prematurely, due to Taylor experiencing pre-eclampsia. Taylor said Tinsley needed quite a bit of intervention after her birth, including oxygen, help with her blood sugar and two blood transfusions. She spent 20 days in the NICU at Baptist Health Paducah, where she experienced her first bout with aspiration while feeding. Luckily, a nurse was right there to assist Tinsley.
When the same thing happened at home, however, Taylor said panic set in.
She said her daughter had already been fussy that particular day, and that evening while feeding she began to show signs of trouble.
"She had her moment, and then the next thing I know, it was coming from her mouth, her nose. She aspirated," Taylor recalled. "Red in the face, stiff body. I did what I could to clear the airway, and then the pats on the back. I knew she got some out, but she didn't get it all.
"'Please, don't let me lose her,' that's the only thing that was running in my head," she shared. "I cried. I prayed at the same time. I screamed, because I didn't know what else to do."
Taylor said it was only a couple of minutes after Burrus made the 911 call that Oliver showed up at their door.
"When I got her to him, I was like, 'Please, just help me. She's not breathing. Please help me,'" Taylor said. "He was able to do a couple of chest compressions and finish it out to get the rest of the formula out of her throat, and she was able to breathe. ... If it hadn't been for him, she probably would have been just wide-eyed, not breathing, not making any kind of noise. Had it not been for him, I probably would have been a lost cause over here."
It was Oliver's immediate action, working to clear Tinsley's airway even before paramedics arrived, that likely saved her life.
"I just want to say thank you to him ...," Taylor expressed with a smile as she held her peacefully sleeping daughter.
Though little Tinsley has been through a multitude of struggles in her first couple of months, Taylor said she is going to be just fine, and should have no lingering effects from the aspiration.
"She's just a little miracle baby," she said. "She came out as a fighter."