CPR and emergency care help save 5-year-old’s life after near-drowning

Emergency care team at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, tell parents that CPR helped save their daughter’s life.

The Wagner family from Anderson, Indiana is partnering with Ascension St. Vincent Anderson to host free CPR classes for the community.

Tamala and Robert Wagner want people to know how to perform CPR if they find themselves in a situation where they need to help someone in need. It was their knowledge in CPR that played a part in saving their daughter, Willow's life. 

In July, 2023, the Wagner family had come in from an afternoon spent swimming in their backyard pool when they realized their 5-year-old daughter, Willow, was nowhere to be found. Parents Tamala and Robert Wagner panicked and ran outside, where they found Willow facedown in the pool.

Frantically, they pulled Willow from the water. Robert immediately began CPR while Tamala called 911. 

Willow was taken to the emergency room at Ascension St. Vincent Anderson, then was transported to Peyton Manning Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning Children's Hospital has a Level I Trauma Center that delivers the highest level of trauma care. The children’s hospital partners with community EMS and StatFlight helicopters, to bring lifesaving care to children throughout Indiana and nearby states.

father holding daughter.Willow stayed at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital for eight days before going home happy and healthy, with no physical setbacks. 

When discussing Willow's care with her doctors, the Wagner's learned the CPR they did at home “truthfully saved her.” "It made all the difference in the world. By Robert starting CPR that early; it helped keep oxygen in her body. Essentially, it saved her life," said nurse Kindra Rose.

Now, the family is encouraging everyone to get certified in CPR.

"If we did not have that tool of CPR to help Willow, to sustain her life, to get the water out of her lungs, she would have had no chance," Tamala said. 

Critical and advanced specialty care at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital

With 24/7 emergency care and a level I trauma center, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital has the care you and your family needs for life-threatening injuries and illnesses. Our care teams listen to quickly understand your health needs and deliver care that’s right for you. Our doctors are part of a national team of specialists who share best practices and research, and collaborate on advanced treatment options. 

To learn more about Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, or to make a referral, visit ascension.org