New Lease on Life

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A Medina Police Officer’s Quick Actions Save a 4 Week Old Baby’s Life

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, life has been rather slow for the Medina Police Department due to the many closed businesses, alleviating the spread of the virus. Then everything changed in an instant on Friday evening, April 3. Working his normal shift, Officer Jeremiah Jessen was parked on Willow Drive – not his typical spot, but as it turned out he was at the right place at the right time. “I was literally a half mile from where the call came from,” Officer Jessen recalled.

When asked to describe the event, Officer Jessen responded, “It was a pretty chaotic situation. There were four or five kids sitting outside, and the mom was at the front door screaming and crying.”  Upon entering the home, Jessen saw a four week old baby lying on the floor in the living room. She was turning blue with a swollen tongue indicating obstructed airways. He flew into action. “You do your assessment, is there breathing? How’s the airway? Is there a pulse? And you go from there.”

Jessen immediately began CPR. Fortunately he is a certified EMT, as are half the officers on the Medina police force. Soon after administering to the baby, her breathing restarted – albeit labored – but breathing on her own nonetheless. “We’ve all worked on older people,” Jessen said, “but it’s a lot harder when it’s a four week old baby.

“I know all of my partners would have done the same thing,” Officer Jessen quickly added. He didn’t want it to appear as though his actions were any different from what anyone else on his team would have done. “We are lucky to have a very skilled group of people at the police department. Everyone I work with is fantastic. 

“The saving grace is we have great first responders in Medina. In this case it was the Loretto Fire Department that responded. Other times it can be the Hamel Volunteer Fire Department.” Jessen described his thoughts as time transpired at that moment. “It is a very reassuring sound when you hear that siren coming. You’re sitting there doing CPR, you hear the sirens, you hear them pull up, then you see the paramedics running through the front door.” Jessen pauses, “It’s a relief. Once they get there they take over.” 

Although it seems as though time slows down during traumatic events, Officer Jessen exclaimed, “The Loretto Fire department was there within five minutes of my getting there, and the paramedics within five to ten minutes. They were there so quick!  Before long we could hear the baby crying in the ambulance – such a welcome sound.” Officer Jessen adamantly credits the full team for their combined efforts. “The Loretto and Hamel fire departments and North Memorial paramedics do fantastic work for our community.” Later Jessen heard from the infectious disease contact at Children’s Hospital the baby girl had suffered from pertussis (also known as whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease that can be lethal for babies.) In a discussion with the medical director at North Memorial, he learned pertussis is highly unusual for a four week old. “Had the mom waited any longer to call, the baby would have died. But the baby is alive and doing well so it’s a good outcome!”

What was going through his mind? “To be honest with you, my kids. You just think about your own kids, I saw my little girl laying there. I saw my son laying there. It’s a pretty big wave of emotion once it’s over.’

Between the military and law enforcement, Officer Jeremiah Jessen is now celebrating his 25th year of service. “Time flies! Chief Belland just retired, we’re so happy for him to enjoy his retirement, and now Jason Nelson is the chief, the service is going to continue. I’ve had opportunities to go to bigger police departments and to do different things, but I’ll never leave here. The people appreciate us, and in turn we appreciate them. Ours is a unique town.”

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