Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Here is a great story that could have been sad but thanks to a brave and levelheaded maid alls well and a little boy is saved

It is every childminder's worst nightmare. Tozama Rondile walked into a bedroom in Cape Town where 20-month-old Lukas Heider had been playing happily moments earlier to find the boy lifeless beneath a fallen clothes horse.

But the quick-thinking Rondile, a domestic worker, who has no formal CPR or emergency training, went on instinct alone and immediately began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the boy. She then called paramedics who told her how to save his life using heart massage.

"I was crying; I took the stand off his throat. His face was grey, his eyes were closed but not properly, and he wasn't breathing," said Rondile.

The incident, which almost claimed the toddler's life and nearly destroyed Rondile's, took place last Thursday.

Rondile had left Lukas in the bedroom to go downstairs to check on the washing and on her return she found him in "his last minute".

"I tried anything; I could see Lukas was going," said Rondile who has been working for the family for just over a year.

In a panic, she called the paramedics who talked her through the life-saving process until they arrived. A hysterical Rondile then called Lukas's mother Jennifer Heider at work.

"She only reached me the 11th time because my cellphone was on silent. She said the washing stand was pressed against his throat and she had called the ambulance," said Heider.

Her colleagues had driven her home, where she found Lukas in the back of the ambulance. "I was shaking, crying and screaming."

At the Medi-Clinic, doctors incubated and sedated Lukas. He was not breathing for close to four minutes but miraculously survived the incident with no brain damage, said Heider.

"The doctors were surprised that after only four days he's doing so well, playing, running around and eating well."

Speaking to the Cape Times at the family's Tamboerskloof home on Monday Rondile said she was elated Lukas had survived the near-death experience.

"He's like my (own) child, I'm so happy Lukas is alive," she said.

Christoph Dankers, Lukas's father who lives in Germany, said he got on the first flight to Cape Town after hearing about the accident and was "relieved" Lukas was alive and well.

The flight was extremely stressful as he could not call to find out how the boy was.

"It was horrible as I didn't know how he was doing," said Dankers.

Heider said the incident served as a wake-up call to her family and that they were "very lucky".

"Be careful; don't be too comfortable with leaving your children alone. Children don't realise when they are in a dangerous situation," she said.

She added that all parents and caretakers must get CPR and emergency training, as it could save a life. Emergency numbers should also be put in an easily accessible place like under a fridge magnet she said.

"One minute later and he would be gone. I'm happy that Tozama got to him in the last minute. I still trust her and in the end she saved his life.

"The doctor said Rondile did an amazing job - she stayed focused even though she felt helpless at a point," said Heider