Water worker gets infant to breathe again

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Bob MacDonald breathed life back into a baby Monday during an unexpected emergency at the gates of the Nevada Irrigation District’s Ophir maintenance yard. But the Nevada Irrigation District employee said that he was just doing what he was trained to do, thanks to first aid training courses he takes through his employer. MacDonald and other employees were in the maintenance yard when a woman pulled her minivan to the side of the road and started screaming from outside the gates that her baby was having a seizure and not breathing. Reaching the woman’s minivan, MacDonald said he took the baby from the woman, noticing that the child’s eyes were rolling back into her head. “I jumped into CPR mode,” MacDonald said. “We’re trained at work to do that.” Using chest compression and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, MacDonald worked 30 seconds to restore the girl’s breathing. That meant covering both her mouth and nose as he provided a series of life-giving breaths of air. MacDonald said the baby’s labored breathing gave way to crying and he returned her to the mother. Soon afterward, emergency personnel arrived to take the baby away in an ambulance. “It was definitely hectic,” MacDonald said. “I never did get the gal’s name.” Warren Hart, assistant water superintendent, said he could see a slight tinge to the girl that could be considered bluish as he watched MacDonald take over with CPR. “It scared the living kajoolies out of me,” Hart said. “Time went awful fast.” Hart, who also has taken medical training through the water district, said he guessed the girl was about a year-and-a-half. Another employee had called 911 and the ambulance arrived after the baby was awake and back breathing, he said. Over the past two months, water workers have also been involved in at least two other emergencies in the Auburn area. In one, Placer County Water Agency workers employees spotted a man floating in North Auburn canal. They were able to follow it downstream and locate it for emergency workers. Unfortunately, the man had drowned. Days later, two water agency employees were called to aid a man who had suffered a heart attack while hiking on a trail near Auburn’s Overlook Park. They provided assistance and helped bring emergency personnel to the spot where the stricken man had fallen. The man died at the scene, despite a concerted effort by EMTs to revive him. Hart said he was glad to see that MacDonald and other water workers had the training to help. “You don’t do that kind of thing on a regular, everyday basis so when you do, you do,” Hart said. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at