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Off-duty nurse out shopping in Romford rescues baby who stopped breathing and turned blue

PUBLISHED: 15:34 13 May 2016 | UPDATED: 15:34 13 May 2016

18-month-old Robyn Appleby, mum Elaine and nurse Beth Townsend at Queen's Hospital. Photo: Lee Appleby

18-month-old Robyn Appleby, mum Elaine and nurse Beth Townsend at Queen's Hospital. Photo: Lee Appleby

Lee Appleby

An off-duty nurse who sprinted across a shopping centre car park and administered emergency first aid to a baby turning blue in her mother's arms has been labelled a "life saver".

Robyn Appleby playing in the sunshine the day after being released from Queen's Hospital. Photo: Lee ApplebyRobyn Appleby playing in the sunshine the day after being released from Queen's Hospital. Photo: Lee Appleby

An off-duty nurse who sprinted across a shopping centre car park and gave emergency first aid to a baby turning blue in her mother’s arms has been labelled a “life saver”.

Elaine Appleby, 41, and husband, Lee, 43, had just collected their wedding outfits from the Liberty Shopping Centre, Romford, when their daughter, Robyn became ill.

As they loaded items into their car, they noticed the 18-month-old had stopped breathing.

“I knew something was really, really wrong with her,” said Elaine who grabbed Robyn from the buggy and bolted back to the shopping centre for help.

By a stroke of luck, off-duty Queen’s Hospital paediatric nurse, Beth Townsend, 28, was driving through the car park and saw Elaine running.

When she saw Elaine’s distress she slammed on her brakes and ran to help.

“The way that she was holding the baby, I just automatically knew something was wrong,” said Beth.

“I ran in after her and she was holding a very blue, unresponsive baby.

“I told her who I was and

she flung the baby into my arms.

“She was in a blind panic.”

Elaine said: “Beth screamed at people to call an ambulance and gave Robyn two rescue breaths, I collapsed at that point.

“People behind me were praying to their gods.”

Beth successfully brought the Robyn round but she then started to fit.

Emergency services arrived and Robyn was taken to Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, where she was placed on the same ward that Beth works on.

The three were reunited on Tuesday May 3, two days after Beth’s lifesaving actions and Robyn’s parents, from Great Totham, married on Saturday.

“If it wasn’t for her, my daughter would not be here,” said Elaine. “Staff at Queen’s were absolutely outstanding from start to finish.”

Beth added: “Elaine did the most important thing, she ran for help”.

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