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    A Corpsman’s Story: Vigilance Off Duty

    A Corpsman’s Story

    Photo By Sgt. Conner Robbins | U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Amy F. Kellar, a hospital corpsman with 1st Dental...... read more read more

    CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES

    07.15.2019

    Story by Cpl. Robert Bliss 

    1st Marine Logistics Group

    At first glance, the Hospital Corpsman facilitating annual dental check-ups does not conjure images of saving lives on the front lines. Most service members, receiving dental care at various facilities across the world, are content to let the Corpsman poke and prod as a means to ensure Marines and Sailors are fit for duty. What most do not know is a Corpsman’s first job, no matter the billet, is to save lives. Never has that sentiment rung more true than for Petty Officer 1st Class Amy F. Keller when she saved the life of her two-year-old niece during the 4th of July weekend.
    “I heard screaming,” recalls Keller, a Hospital Corpsman with 1st Dental Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, whose family had just finished celebrating Independence Day. Her sister asked if she had seen Delaney, Keller’s 2-year-old niece, who has Down syndrome and is very reliant on her family for mobility. “She’s not ambulatory,” mentions Keller. Although Delaney does have trouble walking she often crawls and moves about quite frequently. Keller told her sister she had not seen Delaney in a while, so they decided to start looking.
    Some of Keller’s other family members had been keeping an eye on Delaney, including Keller’s 16-year-old niece, but there was a lot of packing and good-byes being exchanged - enough time for Delaney to move out of sight. “The sliding glass door to the pool was closed,” said Keller. “So I didn’t think much of it.” Luckily, Keller’s older niece checked the pool area anyway.
    “I heard my older niece screaming,” remembers Keller. “Delaney was floating face down in the deep end of the pool.”
    “My older niece pulled her out,” said Keller. “She’s 16. I think a lot of 16-year-olds that haven’t been in that position before might have just screamed or ran for help but [my niece] knew enough to get Delaney out of the water.”
    Once Delaney was out of the water, Keller immediately started trying to save her life. “Her skin was splotches of blue and gray; her eyes were wide open and her arms were flailed to the side. She was not breathing and I could not find a heartbeat.” It was at this point Keller screamed for her family to call 911 and began CPR.
    “I don’t remember exactly how long I was doing CPR, but I just remember very clearly being able to recall the breath-to-compression ratio from my medical training. I just kept doing breathing and then compressions, and breathing and then compressions while intermittently checking for a pulse, and it might have been just a couple of minutes, but finally an Emergency Medical Technician put his hand on my arm and said ‘We’re here’.”
    At that point the EMT’s took over and were able to quickly transport Delaney to an Emergency Medical Center, where she was then life-flighted to the nearest hospital and brought to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
    Delaney was unconscious for nearly three days and during that time had mild pneumonia due to the excess water in her lungs. She was also hooked up to an Electroencephalogram so doctors could monitor her brain activity. “The miraculous thing is she lived,” said Keller.
    Soon all of Delaney’s tests came back saying there was no brain damage. It was not long before Delaney’s mom was sending Keller videos of Delaney smiling and laughing. “She’s incredible,” remarked Keller. “She’s such an incredible little girl.”
    Although Keller believes she was lucky to have been there at that exact moment, she believes her Navy and medical training saw her through it. “We are given training that is able to be so deeply ingrained, [both] as health care providers and as Corpsmen”, said Keller. “We go through Basic Life Support Training every 24 months, the military keeps us abreast with so many different training evolutions and just because we’re not deployed doesn’t mean we’re not going to utilize these skills. We go through it over and over and over again so that even through something as traumatic as this we’re able to dig deep into that training and save lives in a proficient manner.”
    The doctors told Delaney’s family this was not just CPR Keller had given her niece, it was quality CPR. “The military sends us through all of this incredible training that just becomes a part of who we are,” remarked Keller. When asked what she hopes other service members take away from her story Keller said: “Just because you are not deployed doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be in a situation to utilize those skills.”
    Keller wholeheartedly attributes her success to naval medicine. When deployed to Fallujah in 2007, Keller, who was a medical Corpsman for the first 13 years of her service, was part of a medical team that saved several lives, but claims she was never a sole responder. “[I] was always part of a team, but I feel like having gone through that in my Naval career gave me the confidence and ability to know that life-saving measures work, because I’ve seen it firsthand.”
    Keller believes a higher power put her there that day. “I don’t have any hesitation or even a shadow of a doubt,” says Keller. “That is where I was supposed to be in that moment.”
    Faith played a huge part in Keller’s conviction not only to save Delaney, but in her everyday life as a corpsman. “We’re part of a different breed,” remarks Keller. “Staying vigilant, staying on top of your training, all of these things add up to create a bigger picture.” Thanks to her training, vigilance and quick action, Keller’s niece Delaney is still a part of that bigger picture. Keller said she looks forward to every new video her sister sends her of Delaney - healthy, happy, and smiling.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.15.2019
    Date Posted: 07.18.2019 16:48
    Story ID: 332034
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

    Web Views: 575
    Downloads: 0
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