Central Texas Man Hailed a Hero after Saving 3-Year-Old Near-Drowning Victim

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

Emergency Room doctors at the College Station Medical Center say if it wasn't for the quick and courageous response from a Central Texas man -- a three-year-old boy from Brazos County wouldn't be alive today. Doctor's tell us the three-year-old boy was swimming at a College Station apartment complex pool when he went under and never re-surfaced. In fact, this is the third near-drowning the MED has seen in two months.

It's a powerful current that many would agree is never fair.

"Most of the time they are very, very traumatized that something like this happened," said College Station Medical Center Doctor Joseph Kraft.

When you find yourself struggling against the current that's more affectionately known as: life; sometimes fate jumps in. On Memorial Day Weekend Tim Schmitz would have been at home in Dripping Springs, Texas; but instead, he was in Aggieland helping his son move out.

"We got finished moving and we were on our way out and he went to the front office to turn in his keys and they asked him if he emptied his mailbox, which he didn't," explained Schmitz. " So he went over by the swimming pool to the mailbox and heard the commotion and that's when Nick yelled, 'Dad, come quick, a boy drowned, you have to save his life,' I didn’t have time to think, so I just hopped out of the truck and made my way inside the gate.”

A three-year-old boy was swimming at the apartment complex pool with his family; he went under and never re-surfaced; family members tell us his nine year old brother pulled him out.

"I saw him there with his eyes wide open, mouth open, pupils dilated and I mean, he was unresponsive; there was no circulation, and the young man wasn't with us," said Schmitz.

Tim Schmitz happens to be both a Scuba Diving and CPR instructor.

"I tilted his head back, put my mouth over his nose and mouth and just did exactly what the CPR training tells you to do and after a couple minutes of CPR we heard a response," Schmitz explained.

The boy started breathing again. Doctors at the College Station Medical Center say it's a stark reminder of just how critical it is to know CPR.

“If you wait for the patient to get here before you perform resuscitation, it's too late. There has to be someone on scene to do CPR in order for these kids to be saved,” said Kraft. By the time the victim gets here and there is still a resuscitation effort still going on, it's not going to be a good outcome.”

Kraft is an Internal Medicine Physician at the Med, specializing in Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine. He says he anticipates near-drowning cases every year, but in two months the MED has already seen three cases.

“This is earlier than when we normally start seeing these cases and it's a little more frequent. The two cases I had were only two days a part. It served as quite a reminder when they came in, it was almost like déjà vu that we were doing the same treatment,” Kraft explained. “One victim was a twenty-month-old and the other was a three-year-old and the only reason these victims survived was because someone administered CPR at the scene."

Kraft says preventing the kids from getting in the water to begin with is number one; the next best thing is CPR.

"If you're texting or checking your cell phone or you went in to get the spices for the hamburgers or whatever the case is, it's enough time for the child to slip under water and it doesn't take long before they're unresponsive,” said Kraft.

While it may be a matter of chance -- Schmitz is thankful he was at the right place at the right time.

"I didn’t really have time to sit back and think about what had happened, I just did the right thing. But now, I kind of regret not getting the boy’s name, or his parents contact information,” Schmitz lamented. “I wonder if maybe my life's work is done here on this planet because we're all here for a purpose right?"

Rather than defying the current – Schmitz says he’s swimming with it -- after living through a testament that he says proved -- what’s meant to be will always find a way.

"I don't want to say I'm responsible because there is a higher power than me, but I’m thankful," said Schmitz.

To find out more about CPR and First Aid classes, you can contact your local American Red Cross.

American Red Cross
4240 Boonville Rd. Bryan, TX 77802
(979) 776-8279

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