A hot dog and a hero: What saved a drowning toddler's life

How a hot dog helped to save the boy's life.

LILBURN, Ga. --  A local mom is recounting the moment her medical instinct kicked in to save a little boy from drowning in a pool.

Amy Berryman is a full-time mom, and director of critical care services at Northside Hospital. Earlier this month, she became a hero -- with a little help from a hot dog.

Berryman and her children went to a community pool birthday in Lilburn when she overheard a 9-year old tell her parents she thought there was a baby at the bottom of the pool.

The mother sprang into action without hesitation diving into the pool fully-clothed and because she was willing to step in and help - Bryson Rogers,3, survived.

11Alive's Christie Ethridge sat down with the boy’s parents. To say they are thankful is an understatement. They say her bravery and a hot dog help saved Bryson's life.

“I definitely had a moment of panic myself but I had to tell myself I know what to do. You know what you're doing,” Berryman said. 

She shouted for help and someone dialed 911.  

“I started assessing him,” Berryman said. “He was blue and didn’t have a pulse. I started doing CPR and water started to pour out of his nose and mouth. After a minute-and-a-half or so, he regained a pulse. I continued doing rescue breathing.”

Bryson regained his breath and some movement by the time paramedics arrived. The ambulance took Bryson to Eastside Medical Center, where he was intubated and then airlifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital.

PHOTOS | Drowning toddler rescued thanks to off-duty service worker

The Georgia Department of Public Health says unintentional drowning is the number one cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 4, and swimming pools are the most common site for those drownings to occur. 

“It all happened so fast,” Berryman said. “I think between mom-mode and nurse-mode, all I remember is him and focusing on him. I don’t even remember looking up.”

About 20 stunned partygoers held hands and prayed for Bryson.

Word spread on Facebook and soon, family and friends from all over the world also sent well-wishes. This was the first time Berryman had to administer CPR outside of a hospital setting.

“She’s our family’s angel,” said Karen Rogers, Bryson’s grandmother.

Rogers, of Snellville, said she was watching Bryson all day and in a split-second he was underwater and no one at the party saw him fall in the pool.

“It was so quick, it was surreal,” Rogers said. “There’s no way we can thank her enough, she’s a hero.”

Berryman’s quick action is likely the reason Bryson did not experience neurological issues. But that's not the only reason Bryson survived.  His mom says doctors told her an X-ray showed a hotdog lodged in his lung, which prevented them from filling with water and going to the brain.

“When I heard about this incident and how Amy reacted, I was not surprised at all,” said Metta Waters, director of patient care quality at Northside Hospital. “We’re so overjoyed at the outcome and really proud of her.”

Bryson spent five days in the hospital -- much of that in a coma. He has made a full recovery and is back in school. 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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