Goshen mom meets dispatcher who saved son's life; dramatic 911 call released

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An Orange County mother whose son who had stopped breathing on Wednesday got the chance to meet the dispatcher who helped save his life.

Samantha Burke and Courtney Starace share a special kind of bond, joined by the desperation captured on dramatic newly-released 911 calls.

"I have a 2-month-old, he's not breathing," Burke is heard saying. "I need help. I need help. I'm by myself. Please just get me help. ma'am. I'm freaking out. Ma'am, I need help."

It was last month when the mother of two called 911 in an absolute panic. And Starace, a dispatcher who is also an EMT, picked up the call. And before she told Burke what to do, she instructed her what not to do.

Starace: "Are you slapping his back?"
Burke: "Yes!"
Starace: "OK, stop slapping his back."
Burke: "OK."
Starace: "I'm going to tell you how to help him."
Burke: "OK, tell me."

"It is definitely not easy to keep yourself calm when your child is blue," Burke said. "But all that kept going through my head was that I needed to stay calm and do this for him."

Burke told the dispatcher her son, Andrew, wasn't choking. He has RSV, a common respiratory virus. Starace, in a clear and calm voice, told the 38-year-old mom how to perform CPR.

Starace: "Make sure the baby is flat on the ground."
Burke: "Yes, he is."
Starace: "I want you to place two fingers on the breastbone in the center of the chest right between the nipples."
Burke: "Yup. Got it."
Starace: "Pump the chest hard and fast 30 times, at least twice per second."
Burke: "I'm doing it. His eyes are open now."
Starace: "His eyes are open?"
Burke: "Yes."
Starace: "Is he breathing?"
Burke: "Yes. Oh my God. He's crying. That's good.")

"I didn't even really know what to think at that point, when he was screaming," Burke said. "I was just so happy that he was breathing."

The 27-year-old Starace has served as a 911 dispatcher for only eight months, and pediatric calls are not all that common. It was the support of her colleagues that helped get her through a challenging emergency.

"It made me feel like I made a difference," she said. "And that was big for me."
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