April 22, 2015
Story by Shelly Willsey
It was a reunion five years in the making for an Edmonton boy and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crew who saved his life.
Megan Nelson and her son, Talon, finally had a chance to say ‘thank you’ in person with the six Alberta Health Services (AHS) paramedics who arrived on the scene right after Megan gave birth at home, just 24 weeks into her pregnancy. The paramedics performed CPR on the newborn, who was not breathing, and transported the boy to Stollery Children’s Hospital.
But that was then.
Today, Talon is approaching his fifth birthday and, according to mom, is a bundle of energy.
“He’s constantly on the go,” says Megan. “He’s always the centre of attention; everyone adores him.”
Talon was the centre of attention April 22 when the boy, his mother and his grandmother, Shelly Nelson, reunited with the paramedics for the first time since Talon’s birth.
“We knew we had to make this reunion happen so Talon could meet the EMS crew who saved him because, to Talon, they are his heroes,” says Shelly, who organized the get-together at the Bonnie Doon EMS station.
Adds Megan: “I was wondering if I would ever get a chance to say thank you.... When Talon saw the paramedics today, he said: ‘They saved my life.’ I'm not sure if he fully understands what happened but he knows that they are heroes.”
Seth Dodman, one of the six paramedics, was happy to take part in the reunion.
“To know that Talon is alive and doing well, and that we were a part of that… is exactly our purpose and why we do what we do,” he says.
Megan’s water broke at the home she shared with her parents on the morning of May 15, 2010.
Shelly was preparing to take her to the hospital but Megan was already in active labour.
So Shelly called 911.
“The 911 operator was amazing,” Shelly recalls. “She helped me deliver my grandson and, once EMS arrived, they were just as amazing.”
“We walked in,” says Dodman, “and there, on his mother’s belly, was this tiny little baby. He was blue and had a very slow heartbeat.”
Paramedics resuscitated the 1-lb., 8-oz. newborn, who remained in the Stollery’s pediatric intensive care for four and a half months.
“Everything moved so fast between cutting the cord, trying to get him to breath and doing CPR,” says Shelly. “Talon still has a scar from the compressions but now knows how he was saved.”
Edmonton Zone EMS paramedics respond to more than 157,000 events annually, and most of the time, the paramedics do not know the patient outcome.
“Our goal as paramedics is to arrive at an emergency and initiate advanced medical care, often in life-threatening situations,” says Melissa Edwards, Public Education Officer with EMS.
“So often we are unaware of the patient’s progression after we treat and transport them to an emergency department. It’s quite rewarding to see the significant difference our jobs can make.”
Any Albertan who wants to show their appreciation to EMS paramedics can send a thank-you note to www.thankaparamedic.com.