Father Saves Baby Using CPR Learned From Watching TV

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True

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Watching television can be beneficial -- and can save a life. Credit: Getty Images

A New Jersey couple learned a horrifying lesson on the importance of parents knowing CPR.

Their 20-month-old baby stopped breathing.

The father, Arif Mahmood, began giving the child CPR. There was only one problem: Mahmood had absolutely no CPR training. He had only seen people perform the procedure on television. That would be a little like defending a murder suspect in court after watching "Perry Mason."

Nonetheless, it worked.

Mahmood saved his son's life, but he has not been patting himself on the back. Instead, he's urging parents to get proper CPR training and certification.

The Daily Record in Morris Plains, N.J, reports Arif and Nadia Mahmood feel sheepish about not getting trained before -- especially because their baby, Sarim, is genetically predisposed to sudden cardiac death because of a condition called Long QT Syndrome. The inherited disorder disrupts the heart's electrical system.

When it happened to Sarim, his father tells the newspaper, it was a nightmare.

"My wife started screaming," Mahmood tells the Daily Record. "He was not moving, he was not breathing."

Mahmood must have seen accurate TV shows, because his CPR worked. The Daily Record reports Sarim began breathing, weakly, when police and an ambulance arrived and the boy began crying by the time the oxygen mask was placed over his mouth.

The Mahmoods have since gotten CPR training and certification.

In addition, the Daily Record reports, they had an implantable cardiac defibrillator placed inside their son. Like a pacemaker, the device helps prevent a patient from suffering sudden cardiac death by monitoring the heart to detect any abnormal rhythms.

In an emergency, it delivers an electrical shock to restore the heart's normal rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac death.

Dr. Steven Fishberger, a New York University pediatric electrophysiologist, praises Mahmood for being able to perform CPR, without knowing it, under pressure.

"To be able to do it under those circumstances is remarkable," he tells the Daily Record.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.