Two-year-old girl saved from near drowning

Putting CPR skills to the test
Posted at 11:28 AM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 11:28:13-04

Knowing the right way to perform CPR could help save someone’s life.

However, studies have shown that only about one out five Americans knows how to perform CPR correctly. 

One Harford  County family is thankful that two people they know, knew CPR and saved their daughter’s life.

Those who learn CPR never know when they’ll have to put those skills to the test. 

On a sunny day in June, two-year-old Brighley Watson is enjoying her time playing in her little pool. On a rainy day at the end of May, her mother Erin Watson said the weather had kept everyone in her family inside, or so they thought.

Erin Watson said "I just had a mother’s intuition. At that point my dad was inside, winding down like I said, and we just didn't hear anything. So again, mother’s intuition, I had called for her and when she didn't respond, we all kind of went into the mode of finding her."

Brighley’s grandfather Charli Barr said "I looked out the bedroom window, and saw her face down in the pool." 

It’s a moment that Barr will never forget.

"I instantly pulled my phone out and dialed 911. When the operator got on, I was a little bit out of control. I actually could not think of the address," Barr said.

Brighley’s father rushed to get a neighbor for help. Fortunately, both Brighley’s grandfather and next door neighbor Paul DiGiacinto knew CPR.

Paul DiGiacinto said "I took it many years ago, it’s something that seems like you don’t forget."

A 911 operator told Barr and DiGiacinto what they needed to do in order to save brighley’s life.  After six minutes of performing CPR, they heard her cry.

"That was a moment in my life that nothing else really mattered in life. I was extremely happy. I just had a moment of exhilaration go over me, that this child is actually doing well now," DiGiacinto said.

It's difficult to imagine by looking at her now, but Brighley spent four days in intensive care after she nearly drowned.

"I would like to thank the team at Johns Hopkins, the Shock Trauma Unit. Nurse Andy in particular, the first 24 hours there, when we didn't really know what was happening. He was amazing. Also, the dispatcher, the 911, Mr. Reed. I’d like to give him a special shout out," Watson said.

While Brighley’s cry had been a sigh of relief to those who saved her, now they're happy to hear her laughter.

"Sheer joy, that’s the only way I can [describe it], because she’s near and dear to me. I can’t explain it. She’s my granddaughter, and she’s my baby doll," Barr said.

"Nothing short of a miracle," Watson said.

Barr and DiGiacinto both said this was the first time either one of them had used their CPR skills.

Brighley’s mother said she's now inspired to learn CPR as well.