Not all heroes rush into burning buildings to save children. Sometimes they jump into freezing water instead.
Meet Todd Zorbist, a Highland Fire Department paramedic, who braved frigid waters to rescue a baby from a partially submerged SUV that had crashed into a freezing lake.
Deciding not to wait until better-equipped fire or search and rescue teams could arrive, Zorbist sprang into action, swimming out to the sinking vehicle to render aid to those inside.
“I thought to myself, ‘This is a terrible decision and I need to just turn around and go back to the dock because I’m going to get myself in a lot of trouble,’ ” said Zobrist. But realizing he was already committed to his current course of action he continued.
After swimming to the SUV Zorbist noticed what he thought was a toy doll, but on closer inspection realized it was a young baby, floating in the water. Time was of extreme importance, so instead of wasting precious seconds swimming back to shore, he pulled the infant onto the roof of the SUV and administered CPR there.
The baby began responding to the CPR, but the cold was only moments away from claiming both of them.
“I’m freezing. I’m absolutely in pain all over, muscles freezing up, not wanting to work… The baby was in severe danger, he needed to be warmed up immediately.”
So Zobrist swam back to shore, doing a backstroke with the young child on his chest, keeping it out of the water. Miraculously, the child survived after receiving treatment. Unsurprisingly, Zorbist was treated for hypothermia and later released from the hospital as well.
“One little thing that went wrong may have been a totally different outcome,” said Zobrist. While it was a risky move, had the paramedics waited for additional help to arrive, the baby probably wouldn’t have survived.
A job well done, Todd. You bring great credit upon first responders everywhere by showing us what true heroism looks like, even in the face of sub-zero odds.