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Central Texas toddler found unresponsive in pool saved by teenage brother

Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 5:16 PM CDT
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TEAGUE, Texas (KWTX)- A 2-year-old Teague boy who was pulled unresponsive from his backyard swimming pool is alive today thanks to his 17-year-old brother, who administered CPR just days after completing a CPR course required for high school graduation.

Paxton Ielati was wearing a puddle jumper as he swam with his sister Bailey, 18, and his brother Clayton, 17, on May 28 in Teague, his mother, Angela, said.

Angela and her other 17-year old son, Sammy, were nearby picking up as they prepared for a graduation party at their home when Bailey screamed out that something was wrong.

"It was all so fast," Angela said.

"My daughter turned around to look for (Paxton) and he was floating."

The toddler had somehow unhooked his flotation device on his own, Angela said, and by the time his siblings noticed, he was floating unresponsive with blue lips and no signs of life.

"Bailey grabbed him by his arm and said ‘oh, oh God look at him.’"

“I grabbed him and laid him on the table. He looked dead. He was pale, his eyes, that's why I can't forget how his eyes looked and he was not breathing, his lips were purple," Angela recalled through tears.

Angela has decades of medical experience and learned CPR at the age of 16 , but says as she looked at her son slipping away in that moment she froze.

"I've been a director at MHMR, a medical assistant, nurse’s assistant. I've been doing CPR since I was 16 and I couldn't move," she said.

But Sammy reacted and quickly to use a lifesaving skill he had just recently learned.

The Teague Lions Academy senior missed a required CPR course in March, so on May 20, he went to the EMS barn in Teague for a make-up.

He received his certification having no idea he’d put it into practice to save his brother’s life only seven days later.

“Sammy pushed on him real hard. He had done six compressions and picked him up and (Paxton) started throwing up water,” Angela said.

"I was hollering for everyone to call 911 and that's the first time anyone said anything,” she said.

“Sammy said 'he's OK.' I was hysterical," she said.

Paramedics took Paxton to a local hospital and he was later transferred to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Because of restrictions related to COVD-19, only one parent was allowed to travel with him in the ambulance.

His father went because Angela said she was too upset to be faced with decisions.

Ultimately doctors determined Paxton had no long term brain damage and released him the next day with a clean bill of health.

Angela said the outcome would have been far different if not for her son’s CPR training.

"It saved my baby’s life and I will forever be grateful to that class that was taught to my seniors," she said.

Angela accompanied Sammy and Clayton to their graduation from Teague Lions Academy the same day as the accident.

Bailey graduated the next night from Teague High School.

Paxton is home, happy and healthy and learning how to float on his back with his family.

He’ll start swim lessons at the end of July.

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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