Off-duty lifesaver steps up for baby

NEWCASTLE lifesaver Brett Hooey was overjoyed yesterday that a baby boy whose life he helped save on Australia Day was recovering well after some emergency first-aid.

Mr Hooey, who made international headlines in 1988 when he met Princess Diana in his Speedos, was holidaying at Bateau Bay when he heard the hysterical cries of the boy’s family.

‘‘I’ve never seen a dead baby before, but he was blue,’’ Mr Hooey said.

‘‘When he got that bit of blood back in his face, it was just unbelievable.’’

The boy had a high temperature and had stopped breathing following a possible reaction to medication.

Mr Hooey gave the boy a tap across the shoulder blades and moved him into the recovery position to open the airway until paramedics arrived.

‘‘I knew the baby was in a lot of trouble,’’ Mr Hooey said.

‘‘[When] the tongue came back to the bottom of the lip and he gave a short breath, the eyes started to open up.

‘‘Once the baby made a sound we knew we had to keep him awake. I got the dad to keep talking and tap him on the feet.’’

The boy was rushed to Gosford Hospital before the family later returned to the caravan park shaken, but relieved.

It was a team effort with a couple of mates pitching in to keep the family from Sydney calm and the baby boy awake.

‘‘I stood over him and  provided shade and my mates went and got a wet towel and umbrella,’’ Mr Hooey, a Swansea Belmont lifesaver, said.

‘‘It was one of those things, I was in the right place at the right time,’’ he said.

‘‘I just tried to stay calm and call on my knowledge.

‘‘Australia Day 2013 is one I won’t forget.’’

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