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'The most terrifying thing I've ever done:' Mom trained in CPR saves son's life

A Port Orchard mom, who was trained in CPR, saved her son's life during an emergency in November, and now she's on a mission to get other people certified. (Photo: KOMO News)

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - A Port Orchard mom, who was trained in CPR, saved her son's life during an emergency in November, and now she's on a mission to get other people certified.

"The most terrifying thing I've ever done was CPR on my 4-year-old," said Stephanie Lentell who's actions saved her son.

Lentell's husband, Brion, was making coffee in the downstairs of their Port Orchard home when the couple's 4-year-old son, Michael, ran upstairs. Brion didn't hear his son's footsteps above him so he knew immediately something didn't seem right. When Brion went to check on his son, he found the child at the top of the stairs. He was on the floor and not breathing. "Tried to wake him up, rouse him, not responding," said Brian Lentell.

"The first thing I remember that night was the sound of panic in his voice of, 'Michael, come on, buddy, wake up,'" recalls Stephanie Lentell.

Brion called 911 as Stephanie started CPR on their son.

Emergency responders from South Kitsap Fire and Rescue arrived and took over then transported Michael to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.

"I walked in that room to the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life," said Stephanie Lentell.

Doctors later determined that Michael has Long QT Syndrome, a heart rhythm disorder that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats.

During Michael's visit, a surgeon asked Stephanie a question about Michael's incident that caught her off-guard.

"It was, 'why do we all know CPR?' And I kind of looked at him just -- that wasn't a question. To me, that's not a question," recalled Lentell who's received CPR training since she was a teenager.

Both Stephanie and Brion have military backgrounds and are trained to perform CPR.

The couple is now trying to raise awareness about the importance of CPR.

"You have to know what to do. You have to know CPR because it’s not just your kid, it’s your neighbor, your husband, your wife, it’s anybody," said Stephanie Lentell.

Michael, whose incident happened 11 days after he visited the doctor for a wellness check-up, is expected to make a complete neurological recovery.


"(Doctors) told us many times if we hadn’t done CPR he wouldn’t have the brain function he has," said Stephanie Lentell.

It's been nearly two months since the emergency, and on Tuesday Michael will meet the first responders who also played a big role in saving his life.

When the first responders arrived at the Lentell's home Michael was in cardiac arrest, and firefighters used a defibrillator to save him.

"They were the final piece, and we need to be able to say 'Thank you' - and that’s important to me," said Stephanie Lentell.

The couple, which has four children, is now having their two oldest kids -- ages 8 and 11 -- get CPR training. Next month happens to be CPR Awareness Month, and both Stephanie and Brion will be updating their certification, too.

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