published Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Chattanooga police officers' quick CPR action saves baby's life

Chattanooga Police Department Investigator Josh May speaks to reporters at the Police Services Center on Wednesday morning. On Aug. 29, May was one of the first responders to a call on Clio Avenue about an unresponsive infant. May performed CPR on the boy before fire department EMS  personnel arrived, and is credited with saving the baby's life.
Chattanooga Police Department Investigator Josh May speaks to reporters at the Police Services Center on Wednesday morning. On Aug. 29, May was one of the first responders to a call on Clio Avenue about an unresponsive infant. May performed CPR on the boy before fire department EMS personnel arrived, and is credited with saving the baby's life.
Photo by John Rawlston.
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Quick action by two Chattanooga police officers saved the life of a 9-month-old boy.

Josh May, a crime suppression unit investigator and 12-year veteran of the department, and patrol Officer Clayton Holmes found themselves in the right place at the right time when they answered a call for an unresponsive infant in the 3900 block of Clio Avenue on Aug. 28.

As they sped to the scene, a frantic mother waved them down. Other first responders followed.

"I just ran in the house. Saw a baby laying on the couch there. Motionless," said May, who has a 13-month-old little boy of his own.

May began CPR with Holmes talking him through the compression rate. Gentle breaths, gentle compressions. May completed three cycles before 9-month-old Adore King rewarded the officers with an irritated expression, then a smile.

"When he woke up and was able to smile at us, it was an unbelievable feeling," May said.

Each year Chattanooga police respond to more than 200,000 calls and they hope to make a difference. Maybe they'll take someone dangerous off the streets. Maybe they'll save someone's life.

When children are involved, though, the job can be more challenging.

"Most of us are fathers, like myself," May said Wednesday while talking with reporters. "In this profession, what you have to learn is not to personalize anything. You try not to let emotion get in the way."

Chattanooga police officers are trained every two years on CPR. Last week's call for help was the first time May put that training to use.

"You go into situations that most people would never want to go into. You see things, you do things and experience things that the average person will never experience," May said.

The experience with little Adore underscored May's advice: I would recommend that if you're a parent and you don't know how to do CPR, then you need to. This could happen any time, anywhere to anybody."

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at 423-757-6406 or bburger@timesfreepress.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.

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