Nfld. & Labrador

Jiffy Cabs dispatcher Jay Dunn talks dad through CPR to save toddler

A taxi dispatcher coached a father through performing CPR on a toddler last week after the child became unresponsive in a cab.
Jay Dunn, seen here in a file photo from 2007, told CBC News it was the parents and paramedics who were the heroes that saved a toddler's life. (CBC)

A toddler became unresponsive while riding in a taxi with his parents last Friday, but a dispatcher with Jiffy Cabs was able to talk the father through performing CPR  saving the child's life.

Around 5 p.m. on Jan. 23, passengers and drivers with Jiffy in St. John's heard over the radio as Jay Dunn coached a panicked father through how to perform CPR on a 17-month-old child.

Dunn says one of Jiffy's drivers used the radio to call in for an ambulance to attend Hamlyn Road — something he added wasn't unusual, since drivers come across vehicle accidents or other emergencies.

However, Dunn said this was a call unlike anything he got before.

The driver said one of his passengers — a toddler — had become unresponsive while in the car with its parents.

Dunn said he called 911 and requested an ambulance, and then acted as a relay for emergency services and started asking the parents some questions.

He told CBC News he could hear the sirens as the ambulance left the Health Sciences Centre on Prince Philip Drive, and headed down Columbus Drive in the direction of Hamlyn Road.

No time to spare

But Dunn said he knows how long that drive takes.

Over the radio, Dunn asked if anyone had started CPR on the child; when he was told that no one had, he responded to the driver that they didn't have time to wait for paramedics to arrive.

Dunn told CBC News he received basic CPR training when he volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club.

He used those skills to call out instructions over the radio so someone could perform CPR on the child; to use two fingers for compressions because it's a child instead of the heel of the hand, and continued to do so until paramedics arrived.

At that point, Dunn said communication from the scene came to an abrupt halt.

Dunn said he just sat back, and as the whole experience washed over him he burst into tears.

As a father himself, Dunn said he couldn't stop thinking about what happened for the remainder of his day, especially since he had no idea what the result had been.

However, much later that same day Dunn received a call at dispatch for a cab at the Health Sciences Centre — a call that turned out to be the same father he coached through CPR, calling for a ride home.

The father told Dunn the toddler was doing much better.

Dunn said he doesn't know the names of the people involved, or what's happened to them since, but he said the parents and the paramedics are the real heroes of this story.

With files from Zach Goudie

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