Heroic effort: Local nurse saves child from drowning


Many people who are certified in CPR never find themselves in a real-life emergency situation. But when seconds count, instincts kick in.

“I had never had to [administer] CPR before. I didn’t even think; I just took over.”

These are the words of Jamie Miller of Marshalltown, an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) who has worked at the Iowa Veterans Home the last 15 years.

She spent the St. Patrick’s Day holiday hanging out poolside at Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama County with her husband and two sons.

“We were on the side of the pool talking and eating snacks, and my husband Adam noticed a little girl was facedown in the water and wasn’t moving,” Miller said.

The child, age 5, was removed from the pool by her older brother, who had been in the water with her. Meanwhile, Adam called 911 while Miller began administering CPR for approximately one minute.

“She was purple and there was no pulse. It took a little bit to get a heartbeat,” Miller said.

Even before emergency services had arrived, Miller was able to get the child breathing again. However, it was clear she had large amounts of water in her lungs.

“She was vomiting. Three large quantities of water came out, but at that point, she still wasn’t quite conscious,” Miller noted. “Because she was cold and wet, my two sons, who are 8 and 10, came running with towels.”

The youth was rushed to UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown, then went on to Iowa City via Life Flight. Fortunately, she was able to be discharged the next day.

The girl’s family reached out to the EMT service, wanting to be put in touch with the Millers.

“She called me on the phone. It wasn’t a long conversation, but it was nice to hear her voice,” Miller said.

The girl’s family, who wish to remain anonymous, said they had traveled to the casino over spring break, and are not from the immediate area. The child’s older brother, who witnessed the incident, spoke to the Times-Republican.

“I was there, with a friend of the family, and my sister was on a floatie, then fell off,” he said. “We had only been in the pool maybe two minutes when it happened. We had our backs turned and it was really loud [in the pool area]. It’s a good thing [Jamie] was there. We are really thankful for that.”

The child is recuperating and back to her normal routine.

Miller credits her nursing background and motherly instincts for the positive outcome.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com


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