Charleston police officer gives CPR, rescues unconscious baby on Easter weekend

Melissa Boughton/Staff Charleston Police Officer Terryann Ferguson rescued a 1-year-old girl by giving CPR after the child became unconscious in a bath.

A Charleston police officer said she is just thankful she was “at the right place at the right moment” to save a 1-year-old girl whose mother was frantic after she became unconscious in a bath.

“We saw (the mother) run outside with her daughter in her arms, screaming and yelling, ‘Help me, help me, my child’s not breathing,’ ” said Officer Terryann Ferguson, who was on patrol with her partner in the area of 1900 Hazelwood Drive about 2 p.m. Saturday.

“That’s when I drove my car closer to her,” she said. “I grabbed the baby from her, put the baby on the back of the police car and then immediately started CPR.”

It was the first time the 28-year-old officer had given CPR, but she had plenty of training from the department and from her four years in the S.C. National Guard.

Within minutes the baby threw up in Ferguson’s mouth and on her uniform, indicating “a sign of relief,” and she began breathing again.

“After I performed CPR, the mom was probably like 300 yards away from me, and I was able to rush over to her and hug her and tell her, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK, she’s breathing now,’ ” Ferguson said of the child’s mother. “That sign of relief on her was just, ‘thank you, thank you so much.’ ”

The officer said she didn’t have much time to think when it happened, but all that was going through her mind was, “Oh my God, let me do what I’m supposed to do and just save her.”

“And I honestly believe God had me there at the right place at the right moment to actually do that,” she added.

After the incident, the mother said the child had been in a bath with her other young brother, so she went to grab some clothes from another room, which is when an adult man in the house discovered the unconscious girl, a police report states.

The mother said she immediately grabbed her daughter and ran outside for help.

Ferguson said Tuesday that the last she had checked, the baby was recovering at Medical University Hospital.

She said a department-wide email was sent out about her heroic efforts and that numerous co-workers and friends had reached out to praise her.

“I got a personal call from the chief of police on my cellphone, so I thought that was pretty good,” she said with a smile, adding that Rob Dewey, senior chaplain with the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, also called her to make sure she was all right after the incident.

Ferguson said she was told that without her quick reaction and CPR skills, the child might not have lived, and she encouraged everyone to get CPR training.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughton.