THE father of a two-year-old boy who almost drowned in a Spanish swimming pool says the emergency CPR he and others administered saved his life.
Duncan Rodger (25) of Wades Road, Inverlochy, never expected to have to use the life-saving technique – which he learnt through his work – for real.
But it proved crucial after he found his son unconscious in their holiday pool and he has now called on others to take the time to learn the simple life-saving method.
Mr Rodger and his wife Emma (30), along with their son James, had been enjoying a family holiday with six other adults and four children on the island of Majorca last month when the drama unfolded at their villa in Puerto Pollensa.
Mr Rodger said: “I was getting ready to go out for dinner and I was upstairs shaving.
“James just disappeared – he had been hiding in the house which he usually does, but nobody knew where he was.
“The first thing we checked was the pool but he wasn’t there. He definitely wasn’t in the pool so we all separated to look for him. “I ran up the street and sprinted up and down – I was back within a minute. I just got to the gate and Emma found him in the pool and pulled him out.
“I think he had been hiding in the house and then he had just slid into the pool because if he had jumped, people would have heard him. He loves the swimming pool.”
Mr Rodger, a shinty player with Fort William, said he experienced every parent’s worst nightmare.
He added: “It was weird - a bit of relief that he hadn’t been taken by someone as the Madeleine McCann thing was going through my head, but I was panicking and my mind was blank.”
But Mr Rodger knew what he had to do next and did not have to think about it. He said: “I don’t know if I was doing it right or wrong because it’s not like you practice it, but my instinct just kicked in.
“There was a lot of water coming up. Emma’s sister Michelle Bisland took over the CPR for a time before our neighbours, who luckily enough were a British doctor and first responder, took over and were able to get James breathing again before the ambulance arrived.”
Mr Rodger said after James was rushed to hospital he remained in intensive care for four days and nights. He added: “I cried the whole time. It was pretty horrible – he was just in a coma.
“We were speaking to him and we said things to him like people’s names that he knew and the dog’s name and his heartbeat would go up a bit and that was nice.
“We didn’t really know how he would be until he was awake but when he woke up he was doing sign language for juice and sausages. His first word was juice.
“We tickled his feet and hands and they were all moving so that was a good sign.
“Even the doctors said how bad his health was when he went in - it was unreal. It was just a massive relief that he was OK.”
Mr Rodger, who learnt CPR when he worked for his previous employers Rio Tinto, said the doctors had told him of three similar cases that day, where CPR had not been administered and the outlook for those patients had not been as positive as James’s.
He added: “The doctor emphasised how important CPR was.
“I think the probability is that because of the CPR James received from various people, it probably saved his life.
“It’s important for everybody to learn and not just parents because you never know when you might need to use it and it turned out to be very important for me.”
Mr and Mrs Rodger said the huge amount of support they received from the whole community during their ordeal had been “overwhelming.”
Mr Rodger added: “It was so nice to get notifications on facebook and all the texts and phone calls. We didn’t really read them but just seeing the names popping up helped. We want to say thank you to everyone.”
James has made a full recovery and has already been swimming again as his parents were eager that he did not harbour a fear of water following the accident.
A special party was also held in James’s honour when he returned home.