'Miracles do happen': Parents of toddler who fell into pool grateful to community
Gillian Burnett was almost finished her work day on Jan. 24 when she received a terrifying call about her young son.
Waylon, 20-months-old, was found submerged in an outdoor pool at a home daycare near Petrolia, Ont.
The family estimates Waylon was under water for five minutes. His body temperature was just 23 C.
“The thoughts that go through your mind are pretty scary,” Gillian told CTV News. “Your heart is in your stomach. It just felt like it was impossible to get there [the hospital].”
When they arrived at Petrolia’s Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital, Gillian and Waylon’s father Garth Saunders, witnessed an all-out battle to save their son’s life.
Gillian says teams of emergency room staff performed CPR for over two hours, “Tears were in their eyes. It really affected them. But they didn’t stop! That is something I’ll never, ever forget.”
But then, just as it was feared the fight to save Waylon might be lost, a faint heartbeat was detected.
A team from Children’s Hospital in London arrived to help transfer him.
Gillian and Garth were told their son had less than a 10 per cent chance of surviving the trip.
Waylon and Gillian Burnett. (Source: Submitted) Happily, just over a week later, Waylon has beat the odds.
There is a long road ahead, but on Tuesday, Waylon was moved from critical care to a general ward.
Gillian said her son has suffered a traumatic brain injury from being submerged. It is too soon to know, but she says doctors fear the injury may impact Waylon’s eyesight and memory.
Even with the trauma, Gillian added there are positive signs.
“We have lots. He is breathing by himself. His heart rate is going and the best thing right now is he is giving little smiles,” she said.
Smiles are something Gillian also occasionally wears amid her worries. One is for the many prayers said for Waylon she believes have been answered. Another is worn for health care workers in Petrolia and London.
“Between the doctors, the nurses and everybody that supported us, I hope that you guys all know how very thankful our whole family is for you!”
The family is also thankful to those who have already donated to an online campaign to support their current and anticipated future medical expenses.
While Gillian said Lambton OPP are investigating the circumstances surrounding Waylon falling into the pool, she expressed that her family is currently focussed on his care and not the investigation.
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