OCEAN CITY – A normal day on the beach in Ocean City quickly became what Captain Butch Arbin called a “pretty miraculous event” as two of his lifeguards successfully resuscitated an 11-year-old Pennsylvania boy who was deemed clinically dead for almost three minutes.
Deputy Chief Chuck Barton of the Ocean City Fire Department praised the beach patrol’s efforts in saving the boy, who was trapped under a mound of sand, exposing only his legs, which had collapsed on him while he dug a hole in hopes of connecting two makeshift tunnels on the beach at 37th Street.
“Clearly, the beach patrol did a fantastic job, as they always do, and in this case, they are largely responsible for this boy being alive today,” said Barton.
Rescue officials from the fire department and the beach patrol confirmed that the boy, who was not named due to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) passed in 1996 by then-President Bill Clinton, was not breathing and had no vital signs by the time the beach patrol first reached the scene at approximately 12:51 p.m. on Tuesday.
“We know for a fact that the boy was clinically dead as he had no pulse, no breathing and his heart was stopped,” said Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin. “The two guards that got to the scene first did an excellent job in controlling the crowd and starting the CPR which in the end saved the boy’s life.”
Barton said that by the time first responders reached the scene mere minutes after the emergency call to 911, the boy was “revived by the beach patrol’s CPR efforts” and was transported by ground to Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin. Reports later found that the boy was flown from AGH to A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children in Wilmington where he was treated and released on Wednesday. Arbin said the boy was planning on resuming his vacation in Ocean City.
Lifeguards Sean Jupitz, 19, and Aaron Steely, 23, handled the “chaotic” scene on the midtown beach for several minutes until backup arrived, according to Arbin.
“There was a period of time when they were the only responders on the scene,” said Arbin. “In the instance of a sand collapse, it is almost more critical to control the area than in a water rescue because every person that tries to help ends up knocking more sand into the hole that you are trying to dig out to get to the victim.”
Arbin said the AED defibrillator ruled the boy to be clinically dead for almost three minutes, but noted that the boy may have been trapped under the sand for an additional three minutes before anyone realized what was happening.
For the entire story and more details, see The Dispatch tomorrow morning.