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Quick-thinking Mum Saves Baby Son

October 16, 2023 | in News, Shocktober 2023

August Forbes was just one month old when the unthinkable happened.

The infant was travelling in the family car at South Yarra when without warning, he went into cardiac arrest.

Upon finding her baby unresponsive, August’s mother Elise Bufton sprang into action.

“He was a horrible kind of grey colour and looked like all the life had been sucked out of him,” Ms Bufton said.

“I knew I had to do CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) straight away.”

Parents Elise Bufton and Alan Forbes are very grateful to have their son, August, alive and well after his cardiac arrest last year.

After calling Triple Zero (000), the family removed August from his car seat and Ms Bufton started life-saving chest compressions on her tiny son.

Ambulance Victoria (AV) paramedics arrived soon after and were able to revive August on the way to the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), where he would spend several days fighting for life.

“The doctor said there was a high chance he wouldn’t make it through the night and if he did, it was likely he would have brain damage,” Ms Bufton said.

“After about a week the doctors came back to check on him and were blown away by how well he was doing.”

August managed to defy the odds and two weeks later, was able to return home without any lasting side effects.

(L-R): MICA Paramedic Matthew Cerra, Elise Bufton, August Forbes, Alan Forbes
and Clinical Support Officer James Abbott.

Clinical Support Officer James Abbott said August’s case demonstrates the importance of early bystander intervention.

“It really shows how important it is to learn CPR as you never know when you’ll need it. The outcome for August would have been very different if his mum hadn’t started compressions straight away,” Mr Abbott said.

“As a paramedic, you don’t often get called out to infant cardiac arrests so this case really stayed with me. It’s fantastic to see August doing so well and achieving his milestones.”

Now a happy and healthy 15-month-old, August and his family recently reunited with paramedics to mark Restart a Heart Day.

The global initiative aims to increase awareness of cardiac arrest and encourage more people to learn CPR and how to use an AED.

Ms Bufton said her family would be forever grateful to those who assisted during one of the worst moments of their lives.

“I am grateful single day for the support of AV and the RCH,” she said.

“If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have been able to see our son turn one earlier this year.”

Restart a Heart Day takes place during Shocktober.

Now in its fourth year, Shocktober calls on Victorians to learn CPR, register as GoodSAM Responders and to know where their closest Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is located.

Shocktober is a month-long campaign to highlight the importance of learning CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).