Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Child recovers from pool mishap

The Baltimore Sun

Twenty-one-month-old Sarah Lorentson made a speedy recovery after she nearly drowned when she fell into the family pool in Eldersburg, family members said yesterday.

On June 22, her 14-year-old brother, Jacob Lorentson, pulled her out of the pool, and her mother and a neighbor performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until emergency workers arrived.

"You would have never known anything had happened two days before," said Jacob, describing how his sister had splashed in the bath and played with other children at her cousin's baptism just days after the accident.

"If anything, she was a little more energetic than normal," he said.

According to family members, Sarah had been briefly left unattended on the deck of the family's Eldersburg home about 5:30 p.m. June 22. She wandered through an unlocked gate and entered the family pool. But with the next-door neighbor's lawn mower running, Sarah's mother, Stacy Lorentson, didn't hear anything as she worked in her garden nearby.

Jacob said he went outside about five minutes later, couldn't find his sister, and both he and his mother ran straight to the pool.

Jacob jumped in the pool and pulled his sister out. Stacy Lorentson and a neighbor performed CPR. Sarah, who repeatedly vomited water, had started to breathe again by the time emergency medical technicians from the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department arrived, family members said.

As his mother worked to resuscitate his sister, Jacob called 911.

"She's alive. She's crying. She's crying. She's OK," Jacob said, describing his sister's condition in the call with the 911 dispatcher. "She's blue, but she's breathing."

Sykesville paramedics Eddie Godwin and Casie Carpini soon arrived at the home on Gibbons Road. As a precaution, Sarah was transported by helicopter to the emergency room of Johns Hopkins Children's Center, where she remained overnight.

Godwin and Carpini commended Jacob for rescuing his sister and calling 911 without panicking. Members of the Sykesville Fire Department also praised Stacy Lorentson, 36, for administering CPR.

"It's just a tremendous success story because Mom knew CPR, and the boy had the presence not to panic and to do everything right," said Sgt. Bill Rehkopf, spokesman for the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department. "It's exactly what you want to see."

Stacy Lorentson said she couldn't believe she remembered CPR skills practiced in high school health class 20 years ago.

Sarah is the second child in the Baltimore metropolitan area to nearly drown in the past week. A 5-year-old boy, who was not breathing when a lifeguard pulled him from a Columbia pool Tuesday afternoon, remains in critical condition at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The turquoise, above-ground pool in Stacy Lorentson's back yard was in the background as the fire officials lauded Jacob, a rising high school freshman, and his mother yesterday afternoon.

Family members believe that one of Jacob's two brothers, Joshua, 9, and Benjamin, 6, had accidentally left the pool's gate open the day of Sarah's accident.

Now the family plans to padlock it. To the Lorentsons, there's no such thing as being too cautious.

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