Friday, February 09, 2007

Dad saves son during seizures

Wearing his favorite Disney jacket with a big No. 95 on the back, 5-year-old Jacob Pruszynski sat on the edge of the stage at the Shrine Auditorium on Tuesday morning, sometimes tugging at his father's coat tail, a big smile on his face.

"Why are you and Daddy here?" he was asked.

A bit shy, he held his head down for a long time, and then looked up and very softly said, "Daddy did good."

His father, Kevin Pruszynski, a 33-year-old Dayton firefighter and paramedic, was honored for doing something very good — saving his son Jacob's life during a traumatic and challenging ordeal in November of 2004.

The father was one of four Miami Valley firefighters and medics honored by the Antioch Shriners in the Tuesday ceremony at the Shrine Center, 107 E. First St. in Dayton.

Also honored were firemen Jonathan Willis of Miami Twp., Douglas Gilmore of Miami Twp. and Curt Frazee of Deerfield Twp. in Warren County.

Antioch Potentate Roland Williams told those gathered, "We are pleased to recognize the men and women who are on the front line of saving lives. It goes along with our good works of supporting the 22 Shrine Hospitals that offer free medical service to children."

Pruszynski, a firefighter and paramedic since 1996, had worked the all-night shift before coming to the morning ceremony. He was surprised when he was identified as a hero.

"I was told they were honoring my wife, Melissa, who has been active in raising money for Children's Medical Center," Pruszynski said.

He was off duty that day when his son ran across the room in their Dayton home, tripped and fell, and began exhibiting a seizure-like activity, involving his whole body, Pruszynski said.

"Jacob never had seizures before. My wife called 911 and I began holding his head trying to prevent any injury from the erratic seizures."

When Medic 11 arrived, the father carried his son, who was still undergoing seizures, to the ambulance.

According to firefighter Frank Snell, who nominated Pruszynski for the award, "While en route to Children's Medical Center Jacob's breathing became increasingly shallow. At one point Jacob had stopped breathing on his own and Kevin, who was riding with the crew, intubated (inserted a breathing tube) his son and began ventilating once again through a bag valve mask — which effectively saved the child's life."

Pruszynski said that during the emergency it was "sort of an out-of-body experience" for him.
"I reacted automatically doing what I have been trained to do to in these matters," he said. "The fact it was my son had to be in my thoughts, but I just did everything I could, just as I would for any patient."

According to his wife, Melissa, 35, it wasn't until her husband came out of the emergency room and sat down for a moment that he finally seemed to realize what happened. "It was very emotional then," she said.

Jacob still takes medications, Pruszynski said, but has not suffered any additional severe seizures. He is still undergoing tests to try and determine the cause.
The father's three other children, Ashley, 12, Rebecca, 7, and Emma, 1, were on hand when Pruszynski was honored.

As he accepted a plaque, Pruszynski told those gathered, "I thank those I work with for the fine job they do every day. I thank the Shriners for this recognition. And I thank God for watching over Jacob that day."


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