A hero police officer in upstate New York is credited with a toddler’s dramatic rescue, thanks to his rapid response.
Sgt. Patrick Hildenbrand, 35, of the Red Hook, N.Y., Police Department, thought he was going to pull over a speeding driver. Instead the officer encountered a frantic father carrying the lifeless body of his 22-month-old son.
After Matthew Morgan suffered a seizure and collapsed on Monday, his father, Matt, grabbed his body to drive him to the nearest hospital. The elder Morgan was speeding through the Dutchess County Village of Red Hook, when he and Hildenbrand spotted each other.
“It was not a typical traffic stop,” Hildenbrand told ABC News, explaining that the father slammed on his brakes when he saw the police officer’s SUV.
“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.
Morgan hoped the police officer could drive the baby to the hospital quickly so doctors could save his son’s life.
“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,” the father, 19, told WABC-TV.
An officer for nine years and a former firefighter of 17 years, Hildenbrand said his instincts and training kicked in after the three hopped in the police SUV. After Hildenbrand asked the father where he came from, the officer said he made a split-second decision to drive directly to the hospital instead of waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
“I don’t live too far from him, so I knew time was of the essence,” Hildenbrand said. “I had to get to the hospital as soon as possible.”
While Hildenbrand drove to the hospital with Morgan and his son in the backseat, behind a partition, the officer simultaneously performed CPR on the boy.
“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.
When they arrived at the hospital, Hildenbrand continued CPR while he carried the boy to doctors.
“The medical staff did their stuff and the baby started crying,” Hildenbrand said.
The officer said he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“A lot of cops do crazy things to save peoples’ lives and don’t get recognized,” he said.
But the emergency room physician said he feels 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,” Dr. John Sabia of Northern Dutchess Hospital told WABC-TV.
Doctors still aren’t sure what caused Matthew to collapse, but he is back at home thanks to the rescue efforts of a police officer.
“It was fast and stressful,” Hildenbrand said.