'Mouth to beak' resuscitation saves lucky duckling Daffy's life

A St. John's nurse put her nursing skills to good use on Monday when she used her CPR training to save the life of a baby duck stuck in a storm drain.

St. John's nurse Daphne King uses CPR training to revive baby duck

A St. John's nurse put her skills to good use on Monday when she used her CPR training to save the life of a baby duck that had been stuck in a storm drain.

Daphne King, a nurse at Eastern Health's Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, said staff and patients had been watching a family of ducks throughout the day when they noticed the ducklings had fallen through a storm sewer.

King said she and some colleagues tried to manoeuvre the ducklings out of the drain using old equipment at the clinic when she realized one of them didn't seem to be breathing.

Daphne King, a nurse with Eastern Health in St. John's, saved the life of a baby duck on Monday by using her CPR training to do what she calls 'mouth to beak' resuscitation. (CBC)
"We had the ducklings, we were trying to keep them warm, and one of them looked like she was gone … it appeared that she wasn't breathing. I couldn't see her little belly rising, and her legs and her wings were just flat and her neck was back," said King.

"I picked it up in my hand, and I did vigorous massage to try and circulate the blood through her body and I also blew into her beak. So, instead of doing mouth to mouth resuscitation, I did mouth to beak resuscitation."

King said she didn't give a lot of thought to what she was doing, and acted mostly on instinct.

"I didn't know [what to do], but being a nurse you know how to do CPR. I didn't know how firmly to do compressions on a duck, so I didn't do that … but I thought with circulation and breathing there was a chance that it would come around, and it did," she said.

"It was very amazing because I didn't know if it was going to be futile, but as long as I know that there is life, there is hope, and I was not going to give up on that little duckling," she said.

The duckling was christened Daffy in honour of her rescuer, Daphne.

Geoff Blackwood, a radiation therapist at the clinic, said the experience of helping save a family of ducks was something he won't soon forget.

"This is kind of the line of work that everyone is in at the clinic here, and let's just say we couldn't have something like that happen within the walls of a monument like the Garden of Hope, so it's nice that we had a happy ending for everybody."


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