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Right time, right place: Wash. Guardsmen save child's life

By Capt. Joseph Siemandel | Washington National Guard | April 12, 2018

CAMP MURRAY, Wash. - A child in the North Bend area was on the verge of death when a Washington National Guard medic and her team spotted the girl in the back of a sport utility vehicle and quickly aided her.

"It was clear that if it had not been for the efforts of Pvt. Hilinkski, the young child would not have survived," said Sgt. 1st Class Jesus Garcia.

It was just a normal convoy from the Olympia Armory to the Yakima Training Center for Headquarters Battery 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment; typical Friday traffic in western Washington and fuel stops in North Bend before heading over Snoqualmie Pass.

"We just made our regular fuel stop at the TA truck stop in North Bend," Garcia said. "While we were there, I observed a black sport utility vehicle with a lot of movement going on."

What Garcia was witnessing was a young girl in the rear passenger seat who had stopped breathing and had no pulse, according to after action reports from the incident.

"I heard a shout for a medic," said Spc. Brandon Issacson, medic specialist. "I was searching for the reason, when I looked over into the parking lot, I saw Pvt. Hilinski already by an approximately 3 to 4-year-old child's side with two or three other Soldiers."

Pvt. Gracie Hilinski, a medic with the unit, was the first medic to arrive on the scene. After not detecting a pulse she began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

"The patient had been laid down on the asphalt with an Army Combat Uniform top behind her head, and had evidence of vomit around her mouth and down her chest," said Issacson. "I ran over, and Hilinski quickly told me that she had been unable to find a pulse and so had started CPR."

After several rounds of chest compressions, Hilinski provided rescue breaths.

"I felt a pulse, but it was weak," Issacson said. "I confirmed with another Soldier that 911 had been called and civilian medics were enroute."

Hilinski began CPR again with the assistance of her fellow Guard members.
"I felt a radial pulse, and found it getting stronger," said Issacson. "Sgt. Schutt found a radial pulse and agreed."

After another round of compressions by Hilinski, the patient began making sounds as if she was trying to breathe. They turned the girl on her side and began patting her on the back. She was breathing and it was getting stronger, then tears came from the little girl.

"At this time, most patient care was completed," said Issacson "The patient's mother was attempting to calm the child."

Many of the Soldiers returned to filling up the vehicles, cleaning up the area and talking with the family until the ambulance arrived.

"Hilinski's actions were immediate and confident, showing all the aspects necessary in a competent and effective medic," said Issacson. "Jumping into a scene that terrifies many new EMTs, her actions saved the life of a child."

Emergency Medical Services arrived shortly after and escorted the family to a treatment facility.

"Based on my experience I can say that Pvt. Hilinki saved that child's life that day," Garcia said.