Friday, March 22 2013, 10:18 PM MDT
Boy Saves Mom With CPR On His 12th Birthday
By Christine McCarthy
(KUTV) Sixth-grader C.J. Saulsgiver wasn't expecting his twelfth birthday to be so eventful.
"Coming home from school and going downstairs to play with my friend, I hear my mom yelling my name," said C.J.
C.J. had heard a loud noise upstairs in his Roy house while playing video games. He ran up to find his 55-year-old mother, Christine, lying on the floor, having suffered a massive heart attack.
C.J. called 911 and received instructions from a Weber County dispatcher, but he already knew what to do, less than three months since becoming CPR-certified. He and his parents, who were planning to become a foster family, took a foster care safety course held by Youthtrack Utah, in which they learned CPR.
"She said, 'I'm going to have to teach you how to go through CPR,' and I said, ‘I already know how,'" C.J. said.
C.J. performed chest compressions and breathed into his mother's mouth, while leaving the dispatcher on speaker phone.
"She was purple-gray," C.J. said. "I was scared, yeah, really bad."
Within about three minutes, Roy firefighters and medics arrived and took over for C.J., while the 12-year-old called his father.
"He was yelling to me that something happened to his mom. He didn't know what it was. She wasn't breathing. He had to call 911, and I needed to get home right away," said, C.J.'s father, Doc Saulsgiver.
An ambulance then rushed Christine to the hospital.
"I was kind of like in hysterics," Doc said. "Last I heard, my wife had a massive heart attack and wasn't breathing."
After three days of recovery at McKay-Dee Hospital Center in Ogden, Christine went home on Friday afternoon.
"My little boy saved my life," Christine said of C.J., whom she and Doc had adopted.
Roy Fire Department gave C.J. an award at the hospital, as well as shirts, a fire patch, a mug and an offer for a proper birthday party at the fire station.
"C.J. is a true hero for doing what he did," said Roy Fire Chief Jason Poulsen, adding that early CPR is crucial in the first few minutes in order to keep blood circulating and to prevent oxygen deprivation in the brain.
While C.J. said his mother's memory is fuzzy, Poulsen said she is recovering well and it doesn't appear she will have lasting damage.
"I'm very proud of you," Christine said, hugging her son.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)