HPD officer’s quick action helps 10-month-old baby breathe again

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The quick-thinking from a Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officer may have saved the life of a 10-month-old baby as the officer jumped into action to perform mouth-to-mouth when the baby stopped breathing.

HPD Officer Dean Terakawa was at the right place at the right time. He was filing a police report inside his car outside of the empty Hawaii Kai substation when the child’s parents found him; they were in desperate need of help.

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“When I touched the baby, the baby was very hot, had a very high fever,” Terakawa explained. “So from there, you know, I told the dispatcher to expedite me an ambulance; from there I just monitored the baby. The baby stopped breathing and started to turn blue, and I just did rescue breathing until the ambulance arrived.”

Terakawa performed mouth-to-mouth from the back of his police car. He knew what to do. It was a situation he had been in before about 17 years ago when he performed similar rescue breaths on his own daughter.

“When my youngest — when she was that age — she basically had the same thing, had high fever, she stopped breathing and went into convulsions, so I was just thinking about that,” Terakawa added.

He said that about a dozen shallow breaths into the baby’s mouth were enough to open up the child’s airway.

“The color came back to the baby, you know, it wasn’t blue anymore,” Terakawa said. “The baby started breathing again, so just monitor her.”

The parents and Terakawa have not spoken since the incident on Saturday, Oct. 30, but he said no mahalo is necessary. He was simply providing his service, which he has done as a police officer for 25 years.

“The main thing was whatever it takes to save the baby; like I said, I went through that, I know exactly what they were feeling,” Terakawa stated.

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Paramedics arrived within minutes, and the child was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

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