KY police officers awarded for helping save 6-week-old baby’s life

Police officers receive award for saving life of KY baby in cardiac arrest

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Three Mt. Washington police officers are being awarded for their actions to help save a six-week-old baby in cardiac arrest.

Two month old Avery has a congenital heart defect.

She was born on November 6, 2018. Three days later, she had her first surgery.

Nurses and doctors helped prepare Kayla Smith and her fiancé Ricky Conover in how to give CPR and what to expect when they returned home.

After 17 days in the hospital, they were released to go home.

“We were prepared, but it still doesn’t really prepare you for what happened that night,” Smith said.

On December 18, Smith said Avery was asleep in her bassinet.

“I heard her gasping for air and by the time I got up and picked her up she was so limp, there was nothing to her,” Smith recalled. “Her whole face, her eyes, her mouth, was already turning blue.”

Smith started CPR on her daughter and called 911.

Less than five minutes later, Mt. Washington officers Austin Battcher, Ben Norris and Jesse Bratcher were there to help.

Mt. Washington Police Officers Austin Battcher, Ben Norris and Jesse Bratcher started CPR, helping to save Avery's life.
Mt. Washington Police Officers Austin Battcher, Ben Norris and Jesse Bratcher started CPR, helping to save Avery's life. (WAVE 3 News)

“She takes two deep, deep breaths, gasps for air,” Norris recalled.

He said the three officers started giving the baby CPR, switching off, before EMS arrived.

“It turns your stomach,” Battcher said. “Because it's not a call we deal with very often.”

The three officers said their training kicked into gear, but after the ambulance drove off, it started to sink in.

“I think the only call I’ve actually ever cried on,” Bratcher said. “Watching the ambulance take off and adrenaline jump. I mean we didn’t really say much at all."

Avery survived. She spent 10 days in the hospital before returning home, where Smith said she’s doing well.

On Monday, the three officers were awarded the “Life Saving Award” by the City of Mt. Washington and the police department.

The officers said they don’t want to take all the credit -- they said they were just one part of helping saving the little girl.

“We were the first ones there, but EMS was right behind us,” Battcher said.

Smith and Conover said they are thankful for their quick response.

Kayla Smith and her fiancé Ricky Conover are grateful for the officers.
Kayla Smith and her fiancé Ricky Conover are grateful for the officers. (WAVE 3 News)

“I just feel very thankful for them," Smith said. “I mean it’s like I can’t really express enough to them how thankful we are.”

The officers said this is the perfect example of what CPR can do.

"CPR does work. I always thought it did but when you actually do it...” Bratcher said.

“And see the results of what great CPR can do, it’s a good feeling,” Norris added.

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