Mich. deputies reunite with toddler they rescued from nearly drowning
"I can't be more thankful to them," the mother said, before hugging the deputies and presenting them with a card and bouquet of flowers
By Gina Joseph
The Macomb Daily, Mount Clemens, Mich.
MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. —Saif and Hanan Lateef of Macomb Township suffered the unimaginable as parents Saturday after discovering their 2-year-old daughter had fallen into their backyard pool.
It was a painful 24 hours for both of them.
"Now, every time I hear her voice it's taking that pain away," Saif said Thursday during a reunion arranged by the Macomb County Sheriff's Office for the family and first responders who have been hailed as heroes.
"I can't be more thankful to them," Saif added, before hugging the officers and presenting them with a card and bouquet of flowers.
"It's a banner day for us," said Macomb County Undersheriff Elizabeth Darga, while enjoying the gathering that allowed Mitchell Blount and Jonathan Potocki, deputies, along with dispatcher Lindsey McCord to meet Mira Lateef under happier circumstances. The bright-eyed toddler with dark curly hair seemingly unaware that her life had been in jeopardy only a few days ago.
That's when the family's peaceful morning of cartoons and cereal was shattered by Hanan's screams.
"She wasn't breathing," said Hanan, who thought for sure her baby was dead and while she managed to call 911 she found herself closing her eyes and ears after that.
"I didn't want to know what was happening," Hanan said. "My brain refused to listen."
It was then that Saif took over.
"I did CPR before," said Saif, who immigrated to the United States from Iraq where he served as a translator for the U.S. Army.
It was shortly after arriving in America and enjoying a family picnic that he saw his friend's young son jump into the Mississippi River. He performed CPR on the child who was around the same age as Mira and was able to save his life.
"I just prayed I'm going to do the same with my daughter," Saif said, who was assisted by McCord, who took the 911 call.
"I've done CPR many times with callers but I never had one with a child," said McCord, who worked with Saif while watching a map showing the response time for the dispatched deputies.
Within minutes they were at the house.
Once they arrived, Potocki and Blount provided further lifesaving measures, along with the Macomb Township Fire Department.
Due to MedStar being delayed a decision was made to take Mira to a local hospital in Blount's vehicle with fire personnel riding along to continue performing lifesaving measures. When they arrived at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital the toddler was breathing and had a pulse. She was then airlifted to Corewell Health's Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, which has a Level II pediatric trauma center.
A day later Potocki called the hospital and was told she would make a full recovery. It was the best news imaginable — which he then shared with Blount.
"Everyone helped at the right time," Saif said, from the dispatcher to the deputies and from the fire department to the hospital, all of the moons aligned for Mira. "Each one of you. Thank you so much for saving my daughter's life."
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