Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
New Brunswick • Somerset

CPR Class Helps Mom Save Baby's Life

August 19, 2010
Michelle Harlan and her husband, Stephen, had planned to learn CPR before their baby was born. But, their son Zachary arrived 10 weeks early and thwarted their plans. So, the Harlans, of North Plainfield, instead took a CPR class at Somerset Medical Center the first week their son came home from the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The training came just in time.

Not even a week after the CPR class, Zachary came down with a respiratory virus common in premature babies. The virus narrowed his already small airway. While Michelle was feeding him, Zachary began choking and turned blue in the face. His mother immediately used the skills she acquired at Somerset Medical Center’s CPR course. 

“Thanks to the CPR course that I took, I was really calm the whole time I was administering it to Zachary,” said Harlan, 36, a risk manager for a bank. “I knew that I hand gone to the class and that I had the skills and technique necessary to do what I had to do. As soon as I had completed two sets of CPR, Zachary began to breathe.” 

Zachary is now five months old and is doing very well. The Harlans remain grateful for the skills they gained during the CPR course. 

“I’m the biggest fan of this program,” Harlan said. “I tell my friends and everyone we meet that they have to take this class!”

“It is very important for everyone to know CPR, not just medical professionals” said Scott Skrivanek, educator with Somerset Medical Center’s Emergency Medical Services Department. “The time it takes for police or EMS to arrive at a scene could be time used to save lives. Don’t put your love ones’ lives in jeopardy. I encourage community members to enroll themselves and others in a CPR course. Their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, could depend on it.”

Somerset Medical Center’s EMS Department offers a variety of CPR training classes, including CPR classes for “Family and Friends” (non-health care providers), in conjunction with the American Heart Association. All CPR courses reflect the most current techniques found in the American Heart Association’s Guidelines. 

Upcoming CPR classes for Family and Friends will be held Oct. 2 or Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or Sept. 9 or Nov. 5 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at Somerset Medical Center. For more information about these courses or for help selecting the course that is right for you, please call 908-685-2970, or visit www.somersetmedicalcenter.com/cpr.