Aurora grandma praised as lifesaver at apartment complex pool
By Stefanie Frazier For The Beacon-News September 13, 2012 5:44PM
When a former employer offered Susan Rodrigues the chance to take CPR classes she jumped at it. Last week, she put that training to use as she was sitting by the pool at the Chesapeake Landing Apartments in Aurora. A young girl playing in the pool had swallowed water and was unresponsive as people tried to wake her up. Rodrigues ran over and talked a man through the steps of CPR and they were able to successfully revive the girl. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 14, 2012 3:10PM
AURORA — Alexis Bergman is justifiably proud of her grandma.
“She’s a lifesaver,” said the 7-year-old, who was at the pool at the Chesapeake Landing Apartments on Route 34 in Aurora when her grandmother stepped up to save another little girl’s life.
Grandma Susan Rodrigues lives at the apartment complex on Aurora’s far East Side, and she and Alexis spent a lot of time this summer at the pool.
“At one point it was hot, and I wanted to go in the water by the steps to cool off,” Rodrigues said of the eventful late-August day.
She saw four children on the pool’s steps, including a girl about 4, a boy around 3 and an older girl about 12. Their father was doing laps in the pool as the children played by the steps.
“The little boy was holding on to the bigger girl’s (the 12-year-old’s) neck, playing around, jumping on her neck,” Rodrigues said. “And she kind of went under a couple of times.”
Rodrigues told the boy: “You know, you’ve got to be careful. She’s going under.”
She then stepped out of the water and began chatting with a neighbor.
“And all of a sudden, I just heard somebody yell, ‘Does anybody know CPR?’” Rodrigues recalled.
She saw it was the father calling for help, and the dark-haired 4-year-old girl face down in the pool.
“She was head down in the water,” Rodrigues said. “… And her face was submerged in the water.”
The father got the girl out of the pool.
Rodrigues, who knows CPR, ran over and told the man to “push on her chest, push on her chest.”
She repeatedly told the father to “keep pushing.”
“I was taught that you don’t stop doing CPR until a paramedic is next to you and says, ‘OK, stop. We’ll take over,’” Rodrigues said.
After a moment, water came out of the child’s mouth.
“And I knew that was a good sign,” Rodrigues said. “And she was coughing it up. She was swallowing it.”
She told the father to turn the girl over.
“A lot more water came out,” she said. “She had thrown up. Then more water came out and then she started crying.”
After hearing the cry, Rodrigues said she knew the girl was OK.
“It was music to my ears,” Rodrigues said.
Chris Booth, a resident of the complex, witnessed the situation at the pool and praised Rodrigues for her actions.
“The whole thing was incredible,” Booth said. “… She deserves a lot of credit for saving this little girl.”
Rodrigues’ husband, Robert, said he was not surprised that his wife stepped in to help.
He called her a “caretaker beyond caretaker.”