‘Incredible’ West Wittering teenager receives award after twice saving his grandmother’s life

An 85-year-old West Wittering woman said she ‘owes her life’ to her grandson after he, twice in the space of a month, brought her back from the brink of death.

Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 12:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 12:46 pm
Dominic Barth twice saved the life of his grandmother Mary Messom. Photography by :Damon Pearson Photography (www.damonpearson.com) SUS-200429-114336001

Dominic Barth, 15, who had no life-saving training, was staying at Mary Messom’s home on September 29 last year when he heard a loud bang at 9am and rushed into her bedroom to find his grandmother lying face down on the floor and not breathing.

He called the emergency services and then, under instructions, began to administer cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). When paramedics arrived he continued to assist them with it until they could administer electric shocks and managed to get her heart restarted. Doctors said later that Dominic’s swift action had undoubtedly saved his gran’s life.

Dominic said: “I didn’t have any training. I just did what the emergency service people told me to do when I phoned them.”
It was the first of two heart attacks Mary had at her home in under a month. On October 23, Dominic was staying with her again and she collapsed on the floor during the evening. He found that her heart had stopped, called the emergency services again and then began to administer CPR. He managed to restart her heart after two minute. 

Dominic’s name was put forward by his grandmother, recommending that he deserved an award.

Now Dominic has been awarded two major national life-saving honours – Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificates.

‘He did it all on his own and saved my life’


Describing her grandson as an ‘incredible boy’, Mary added: “Thankfully he was in the house on both occasions. I owe my life to him. 

“It was his quick reactions that saved me.

“People are too quick to run youngsters down these days. He was wonderful. I cant express my feelings for him
“He did it all on his own and saved my life.”

‘What he did was incredible’

Dominic has also won the personal praise of society secretary Andrew Chapman, who said no-one in the society had ever come across a case like this one.

He added: “The trauma for Dominic of staying calm the first time he found his grandmother to all intents and purposes dead must have been horrific.

“Nevertheless, with no previous training he took instructions over the phone on how to administer CPR and by doing so played a major role in saving her life.

“It’s the sort of incident members of the medical profession expect to be confronted with, but for most people facing this sort of situation it’s thankfully a once in a life time event.
“However, Dominic found himself confronted by the same situation again within a month and again stayed cool and this time managed on his own to re-start his grandmother’s heart. What an amazing youngster.

“Few people have deserved resuscitation certificates from us more than Dominic. What he did was incredible.”

Andrew said the case ‘emphasises the value’ of people learning how to administer CPR.

“It’s a technique which, as it did here – twice – make the difference between life and death,” he said.

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