ST. CHARLES – St. Charles Police Officer Jennifer Larsen said she was just doing what she was trained for after saving the life of a baby in 2018 when responding to a 911 call for help.
"In that kind of situation, you just revert back to your training," Larsen said. "To me, it was just instinct kicking in from my training and just going about my everyday job."
For her efforts, she was presented with the Kane County Officer of the Year award at the annual Kane County Officer of the Year banquet on Feb. 27 at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. The banquet is hosted by Batavia Moose Lodge 682 and the Kane County Chiefs of Police Association.
Receiving the award took her by surprise.
"I knew I had been nominated, but I didn't have any idea that I was actually going to be the recipient," Larsen said. "I consider it a big honor. There are so many deserving candidates."
She was nominated for the award by St. Charles Police Chief James Keegan.
"Officer Larsen's quick, decisive actions saved the child's life," Keegan said in the nominating letter.
On May 7, Larsen was dispatched to assist an ambulance with a possible cardiac arrest patient. When Officer Larsen arrived, she met the father, who was carrying an infant victim, according to Keegan's nominating letter.
The father said he discovered the baby had fallen off the bed, according to the letter. The adult watching the child was unaware the fall had occurred.
A combination of circumstances led to the child not being discovered for almost 20 minutes, Because of the angle that the child’s head came to rest between the bed and wall, breathing became restricted. By the time the father discovered the child, she was blue and not breathing.
Officer Larsen immediately assessed the child’s condition. She promptly applied a sternum rub without any response from the child.
Larsen was unable to locate a pulse and initiated chest compressions. The infant physically reacted and her pulse was restored. The St. Charles Fire Department arrived and the paramedics took over patient care.
The attending doctor at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva determined Officer’s Larsen’s quick and decisive actions saved the child’s life. Larsen admitted, though, she was a little anxious that day.
"I've done CPR before, but I would say [that day], I was the most anxious I've ever been doing CPR," she said. "I would say that was one of the scariest calls I've been on in my law enforcement career."
Following Larsen's lifesaving actions, the baby has made a fully recovery.
"She spent a couple weeks at the hospital," she said. "She got transferred to Chicago and we found out through Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital a few weeks later that she made a fully recovery with no known side effects, at least at the time. With how long they said she possibly had oxygen deprivation, it's just amazing she didn't have any sort of long-term effects."
Because incidents like the one Larsen responded to can happen all the time, she advised that people should know CPR training.
"It's good to be prepared," she said. "In this situation, I'm not as fully trained as the paramedic and the doctors, but I was able to make an impact."