Hero saved baby’s life in dramatic roadside rescue

editorial image

A DYING 15-week-old baby was saved in a dramatic roadside rescue, and her parents got to thank their hero this week.

Grantham man Ian Phillips met grateful parents Kerry Vickers and Steven Costall in an emotional reunion on Tuesday, three weeks after he resuscitated baby Poppy-Jane.

Kerry’s nightmare on January 26 began as she was driving through Leadenham to visit a friend in Navenby. Looking over at Poppy-Jane, she realised her baby girl had turned a funny colour. Pulling the car over, she saw her baby’s tongue hanging from her mouth and that she had stopped breathing.

Kerry grabbed her and flagged down the first passing car - luckily it was CPR-trained Ian, an air traffic controller based at RAF Waddington.

Panicking, Kerry let Ian take over.

Ian, of Rosedale Drive, Grantham, said: “I thought initially ‘what am I supposed to do?’ I thought it was a dead baby, she was absolutely lifeless.”

Knealing on the ground with baby lying on his rear car seat, he worked hard to save her.

He said: “It was the first time I’d done first aid on a real person, and she was only 15 weeks old. It was obvious she’d been choking on something. Mum told me she’d just had a feed so I thought there may be a blockage.”

Eventually, Poppy-Jane snorted some milk through her nostrils and started to breathe.

“The best noise I ever heard was this baby crying,” said Ian.

Meanwhile, a terrified Kerry was talking to the ambulance control centre and told her hero an air ambulance was on its way. Ian’s expertise as an air traffic controller came to the fore and he rushed mother and baby to the nearby polo field, signalling to the chopper where to land.

Ian said: “Am I a hero? That word has been used. I was in the right place at the right time. If I had passed five minutes earlier or 15 to 20 minutes later, someone else might have stopped who had no first aid training, and it could have been different.

“I’m just glad the outcome is what we wanted.”

Poppy’s first months in the world have not gone smoothly so far. Born prematurely 12 weeks early, she has had to fight to survive. Because of her early arrival, doctors immediately carried out tests upon her arrival by air ambulance, and a lumbar puncture revealed she had viral meningitis.

Kerry, 27, of Loveden View, Caythorpe, said: “I couldn’t believe it. She showed no signs, and I always thought there was a rash first.”

Poppy has made a full recovery and is doing well.

Her mum said: “We spent 13 days in hospital. We were so relieved to get her home.

“I can’t thank Ian enough for what he’s done for us. I might have been a different story if he hadn’t stopped that day. He’s a very special man.”

l Have you got an incredible story to tell? E-mail: comment@granthamjournal.co.uk