Police officer drives car and does CPR at same time on toddler

Joe Torres Image
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Police officer saves toddler
Joe Torres reports from Red Hook in Dutchess County.

RED HOOK, N.Y. (WABC) -- A Red Hook police sergeant thought he was just pulling over a speeder; instead it turned out to be a frantic dad trying to get help for his son.

The 22-month-old was having a medical emergency and the officer took quick action that saved the little boy's life.

"Don't take for granted what you have, because it can be over in the blink of an eye," said Matt Morgan, a father.

Those words of wisdom come from Columbia County teenager Matt Morgan after a harrowing experience nearly ended his son's life.

On Monday, Morgan's 22-month-old boy, also named Matthew, suffered a seizure and collapsed. The 19-year-old grabbed the small lifeless body and jumped into his car. Speeding through the Dutchess County Village of Red Hook, Morgan and Police Sergeant Patrick Hildenbrand spotted each other at just about the same time.

"I was going and then he hit his lights and then as soon as I seen that I stopped and I ran to his car. You get through traffic a lot faster," Morgan said.

"He has a young boy in his hands and he's running at me, yelling at me, his son is not breathing. 'I think my son is dead, my son is not breathing,'" Hildenbrand said.

What happened next is extraordinary. Morgan, now in the back seat of a police SUV held his son close to the partition and watched as the 35-year-old policeman drove to the hospital and performed CPR on the boy at the same time.

"I reached my hand back here as I'm driving, moved my body over and started doing all the compressions and feeling for a pulse while I could still operate the vehicle," Hildenbrand said.

Hildenbrand told Eyewitness News instincts and training helped him tackle the two vital tasks simultaneously. And while he doesn't consider himself a hero, the emergency room physician says otherwise.

"I really don't think this child would be here today if it wasn't for those efforts. I think the key is when you can start rescue CPR out in the community it certainly, the earlier you start it the better outcomes you have," said Dr. John Sabia, of Northern Dutchess Hospital.

"Doctors performed tests on little Matthew. They still aren't sure what caused the young boy to collapse in the first place. The little boy is now back home thanks to the heroic work of a multi-tasking police officer.