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‘She wasn’t breathing’: Kansas City police officers honored for life-saving efforts

In World
April 12, 2024

Kansas City police officers Richard DuChaine and Charles Owen parked on the street and bolted up the front steps into a home, responding to a call for assistance for a 1-month-old child who wasn’t breathing.

“In our heads, we immediately knew what we needed to do,” said DuChaine, recalling the November 2022 incident on Thursday evening.

His memory of that morning is clear, and he ran through those critical moments as he recounted his actions that day: “Dad gave me the baby. I immediately had her on my hand, and once I felt that she wasn’t breathing, I immediately started doing chest compressions.”

Body camera video of the incident shows DuChaine and Owen, who arrived at the home before medical responders, attempting to revive the tiny, motionless body. Soon the infant shows signs of life and begins to cry.

She was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and the officers learned that the child was suffering from RSV. The moment hits close to home for DuChaine, who also learned that the girl he’d helped to save had been born premature, like his own child.

“It’s very much a sigh of relief when it comes to it,” he said of hearing the child’s cries. “I was happy that it was a great outcome for the family.”

DuChaine and Owen were among those officers in the Kansas City Police Department honored by department officials Thursday evening in a ceremony that recognized life-saving actions by police.

In one such incident in February last year, two officers performed CPR on a woman and kept her alive until medical responders could arrive.

In another in May last year, an off-duty officer responded to a shooting along Interstate 70 near Grain Valley and tended to a man’s gunshot wounds.

In another incident in April last year, an officer tended to a severe cut suffered by a man who’d been in a fight and rode with him to the hospital in an ambulance while continuing to apply pressure to a wound while medical responders performed other tasks.

“Let’s leave here tonight knowing there are good people in the world and that you personally know them,” Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves told those in attendance at the Regional Police Academy Thursday. “And there are more of them there than there are the not-so-good.”

Also honored was Matthew Deloux, a KCPD officer who saved the life of a child who was choking at a Kansas City Royals game in May last year. Deloux had been off-duty at the annual “School Day at the K” event with his son having lunch in the parking lot when a boy grabbed his arm. He realized that the boy was distressed and not breathing.

Deloux jumped into action, bent the boy over and started striking his back in an effort to clear his airway. It took about a minute and several strikes to dislodge a piece of chocolate that had blocked his breathing.

“Training and instincts kind of just kick in,” Deloux said Thursday.

Said DuChaine, the officer who helped to save the unresponsive baby: “It’s a very rewarding thing to know that your actions helped save a life.”

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