Family thank paramedics

MOTHER'S Day turned into every parent's worst nightmare for Graham Murrell and Claire Curson when they found their 16-month-old son Donnie floating face down in his grandparent's pond.

MOTHER'S Day turned into every parent's worst nightmare for Graham Murrell and Claire Curson when they found their 16-month-old son Donnie floating face down in his grandparent's pond.

They pulled the toddler from the pond but he was motionless, and was not breathing.

The couple feared the worst when the heroic actions of Donnie's father and then paramedics saved the youngster's life against all the odds.

Doctors feared Donnie could be left severely brain damaged by his ordeal, but the toddler has made an amazing recovery and battled back to full health.

Donnie and his family where reunited with East Anglian Ambulance Service paramedics Stephen Willis, 46, and Gabrielle Morriss, 30, who played a vital role in saving the toddler.

The emotional reunion happened at the home of Donnie's grandparent's Christopher and Doreen Gambin, where the incident happened in Bramble Way, Leavenheath, near Sudbury.

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The dramatic events unfolded when Mr Murrell, 49, and Miss Curson, 29, travelled from their home in Wickford, Essex, to Suffolk to visit Donnie's grandparents on Mother's Day.

Donnie slipped out of the house unnoticed and ended up submerged in water in the garden pond.

Seeing his son face down in the water Mr Murrell ran from the house and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and heart massage until paramedics came.

When the paramedics arrived Donnie was still showing no signs of life and they put him into an ambulance and he was taken to Colchester General Hospital.

During the journey the paramedics to tried to resuscitate the toddler and minutes from the hospital, Donnie started to breath and was handed over to hospital staff.

Within hours Donnie was transferred to St Mary's Hospital, London, where he spent four days in intensive care. He spent three days in Colchester hospital, before he was released.

Despite concerns that Donnie could be left with permanent injuries he has now completely recovered and yesterday played happily with his family and the paramedics that saved him in his grandparent's garden.

Mr Murrell said: "When I pulled him from the water he wasn't breathing or showing signs of life. His lungs were full of water and his tongue had retracted into his throat. I started to resuscitate him and didn't stop until the paramedics arrived.

"The consultants later told me Donnie would have died if I hadn't done what I did. I managed to open the airways to get a bit of oxygen to his brain and that kept him alive before the paramedics got here. The paramedics were fantastic because they kept him alive by working on him all the way to hospital. I feel very blessed that Donnie had made a full recovery."

Miss Curson added: "What happened was just horrific, I still get nightmares about it, the image of Donnie laying face down in the pond will haunt me forever.

"I just can't thank everybody enough, the paramedics are complete heroes, angels, and so are the staff at both the hospitals where Donnie was treated."

The heroic paramedics who are based in Sudbury, spoke of their delight at seeing Donnie playing happily in the garden.

Mr Willis said: "This is the first time I have seen Donnie since he got out of hospital and it is fantastic to see him so well. At the time the incident was quite stressful.

"We were kept updated by the control room on the way to the house so we had a good idea what we were dealing with and had a sort of action plan ready. We put him straight in the ambulance and worked on him all the way to hospital. It is very satisfying to see Donnie has got better."

His partner Miss Morriss said: "I am absolutely amazed by the outcome, because it was certainly a very serious situation and was touch and go for a while. It is great to see Donnie again, times like this make us realise exactly why we do the job."

A spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance Service Mathew Ware said: "If it wasn't for their quick and professional approach to the situation the toddler might not be here today."

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