When a distraught couple handed their 18-month-old daughter to Riverhead police officer Dan Hogan on the side of the road in Wading River Sunday night, he immediately knew something was wrong.
The baby girl was unresponsive and had stopped breathing, Mr. Hogan said. Her body was stiff and Mr. he couldn’t find a pulse.
Immediately, he and fellow officers Branden Heller and Patryk Loszewski got to work saving the baby’s life.
“It’s fast-paced,” Mr. Loszewski told the News-Review later this week. “When your training kicks in, it just kind of takes over and you kind of do what you’re trained.”
Mr. Hogan laid the baby in the couple’s car and began performing chest compressions while Mr. Heller supervised. Mr. Loszewski stepped up next, giving her oxygen until she began breathing again.
“Once they’re breathing it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re OK,” Mr. Hogan said.
But when interviewed two days after the rescue, Mr. Hogan and Mr. Loszewski were relieved to hear the baby had made a full recovery.
“It’s awesome,” Mr. Hogan said. “I don’t have any children, but if I did I would never want to see them in that situation, so it’s awesome to see that she’s OK.”
“They definitely saved this baby’s life,” said officer Dennis Cavanagh, who runs the police department’s CPR program and trained the three officers.
Mr. Hogan and Mr. Loszewski — who both joined the Riverhead Police Department in 2012 and went through the police academy together — were patrolling the area near the intersection of Wading River Manor Road and Route 25A when they received a call about a baby in distress. They responded immediately, arriving just before an ambulance did.
Mr. Heller was also nearby in a separate car and responded around the same time.
“They did an excellent job,” Mr. Cavanagh said. “To work under stress like that? When you get a call of ‘infant not breathing,’ that is probably the worst call to go on in the police department. When your head gets a little mushy you revert back to your training. That’s what these guys did.”
This wasn’t the first time Mr. Loszewski or Mr. Hogan — the latter of whom was honored as the Riverhead Police Benevolent Associations’ Officer of the Year for 2014 — responded to an incident where CPR was needed, but it was the first time either cop had to perform CPR on a baby.
The two officers said the situation was handled so well thanks to the teamwork of the three cops who responded and emergency volunteers from the Wading River Fire Department who helped at the scene and took the toddler to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.
“The Wading River Ambulance, they got there very quickly and they did their job excellently,” Mr. Hogan said. “They’re the reason that the child is OK. They took it over from us and they deserve a lot of credit for this.”
The young girl — whose name wasn’t released by police — was discharged from the hospital Sunday night and is “doing well,” according to Riverhead Police Sgt. Jill Kubetz.
“Our officers responded and acted in a very professional manner, as we’ve come to expect from the Riverhead Town Police Department,” she said. “We’re very proud of the work of our officers.”
“It’s was very good to hear,” Mr. Loszewski added. “It’s almost a relief and a happiness that you were able to provide help to someone in some need.”
Both Mr. Hogan and Mr. Loszewski said they didn’t see themselves as heroes, despite many on social media praising the officers as such.
Instead, the pair said the real credit belongs to the Wading River Ambulance team.
“We get the spotlight because we’re police officers and this happens, but [the ambulance and fire crews] do this on a regular basis and they don’t get the accolades that we do and they definitely deserve it,” Mr. Hogan said.
Photo caption: Riverhead police officers Dan Hogan (left) and Patryk Loszewski helped save the life of a baby girl who had stopped breathing Sunday night. Branden Heller (not pictured) also assisted with the rescue.