Stéphanie Bernier a ski patroller at the Mont Avalanche Mountain Resort in Laurentian Zone in her volunteer time. She’s also a police officer for the Cartierville neighbourhood of Montreal in her work life. This combination of CSP and police training enabled Stéphanie to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills.
During a work shift in 2016, Bernier received a call from dispatch that a child was not breathing. Stéphanie arrived on the scene where she discovered an 18 month old child lying on the floor in the corridor of her parents’ apartment block, unconscious, naked and wet as the parents had found their daughter in the bath tub, drowned.
Frantic, the parents had left their apartment carrying their unresponsive daughter into the corridor begging their neighbours for help. Someone called 911 to report the commotion. One of the neighbours was attempting to resuscitate the baby but gratefully passed over the child to Stéphanie upon her arrival.
Stéphanie quickly noted that the baby girl was not breathing and that she had vomitus in her mouth. Her CSP training took over and she made an effort to clear her patient’s airway. Stéphanie attempted to do so five times with some success as the baby kept vomiting but remained unconscious.
Reassessing the patient, Stéphanie suddenly detected some signs of breathing and then the child let out a moan and vomited once more and fell unconscious again. Remaining steadfast in a daunting situation, Stéphanie cleared the child’s airway once more and the baby positively responded this time and regained her breathing, although with some difficulty. Paramedics had arrived and transported the baby to the Ste-Justine Hospital for Children.
Stéphanie remained at the scene with the parents to complete her investigation as the officer of record, after which she rushed to the hospital to find out how her patient was doing. She was told that her situation was improving and that there were no sequels. Doctors informed Stéphanie that water had gone into the baby’s stomach rather than into her lungs, which would have been fatal.
The CSP was honoured to present Stéphanie with a CSP Lifesaving Award at the 2017 CSP Leadership Conference in April, 2017.