A grateful mother whose baby was in dire need of CPR during an extremely frightening situation reunited with the police officers who saved her child’s life Friday.
“I’m just grateful. I have never been so happy to see the San Diego police in my life,” said mom Monique Matthews. “It’s a scary ordeal. I’m grateful to the two officers who responded first. They remained calm and went the extra mile and my child is alive because of them today.”
Friday, Feb. 21 started out like any other day for Matthews, mother of 8-week-old twin girls Demi and Deonni Bradley. With the help of her older son, also home at the time, she fed the babies, burped them and laid them down for the morning.
At around 10:15 a.m., Matthews said she heard a “weird noise” coming from Deonni (pictured below). When she checked on the baby, she noticed mucus coming from the little one’s nose, and saw Deonni gasping for air.
Matthews – who works in the medical field and is CPR certified – began patting Deonni’s tiny back, trying to open up her airway.
However, she soon realized her daughter wasn’t breathing.
Quickly, Matthews had her son call 911 while she rendered aid to the baby.
“She was turning blue; nothing was working,” Matthews recalled. “It was so frightening.”
Moments later, Matthews heard police sirens outside her home. She ran outside to flag down officers.
SDPD Officer Mark Herring – a 10-year veteran of the department – and six-month rookie Officer Tobias Hoffman were the first officials to arrive at the scene.
Upon seeing Matthews, the patrolmen took Deonni from her hands and immediately began performing CPR on the infant.
Herring said he placed the baby on the floor to check her vital signs, did a few rubbing movements on her chest and, about 20 seconds later, Deonni started crying.
“When she started crying – that’s the best sound you could ever hear,” recalled Herring. “It meant she was breathing.”
In this case, Herring said everything aligned for a positive outcome.
He and Hoffman had just finished a traffic stop about three blocks from Matthews’ home when they heard the call come in from dispatchers about the non-breathing, lifeless baby.
The officers rushed over to the home and got there just in the nick of time.
“Everything worked out. Sometimes you go on these calls and they don’t end well. This one, fortunately, did. Mrs. Matthews did everything right. She was very calm in a chaotic situation. Because she remained clam, it was very easy for us to get basic medical information out of her,” Herring explained.
The officers praised Matthews’ quick thinking amid stressful circumstances. Herring said the mother calling 911 right away, rendering first aid as best as possible and remaining calm were all key factors.
Herring knows firsthand that sometimes these types of calls don’t have such a good outcome.
Over his decade working on the SDPD, he’s experienced three similar calls involving non-breathing children while on patrol. Sadly, none of those children survived.
“It’s a call you dread hearing but this one had a happy ending,” said Herring. “It’s nice to see the happier ending to these.”
Matthews said handing her baby to Herring and Hoffman that morning gave her an inexplicable sense of relief. Though she’s CPR certified and knew what to do, she said it was difficult trying to save her own child.
“Sometimes, when it’s your child and you’re in that situation, everything kind of goes out the door. I felt like I wasn’t thinking,” she explained. “Everything happened so fast. Even though I did what I was supposed to do, at some point in time, I did lose it. I panicked. That’s when I ran out the door and saw the officers.”
Matthews said Deonni was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital where she remained for one week.
The infant was released from the hospital Friday and is now resting comfortably at home, snuggling alongside her twin, Demi, who’s been missing her sister.
“It feels so good to have them back together again. I’m forever grateful to those officers. I feel so blessed,” said Matthews.
The mother said Deonni wasn’t given a diagnosis and doctors told the family they may never be able to pinpoint exactly what happened to make her stop breathing that day. The infant is currently on a monitor, which Matthews said will alert her right away if anything else should go wrong.
Matthews said she delivered her twins eight weeks early about four months ago. The newborns spent a month in the NICU gaining weight, but up until now, had not experienced any medical complications.
She’s confident that, in time, Deonni will grow stronger.
And, the mother feels that the SDPD officers are the reason her child is alive today.
“There are good officers out there – officers who will go the extra mile and just spring into action. You hear the negative publicity [about the department] and never really the good things,” said Matthews. “This is something good that the community needs to know about, that we do have officers like this."