Broadstairs aunt who saved niece’s life sets up family first aid event

Krystal Epps (left) and pictured with niece Isabella three days after the incident

A healthcare worker who saved the life of her niece when she stopped breathing after a seizure has set up an event for people to learn lifesaving first aid.

Krystal Epps, from Broadstairs, had been staying with her sister in Derbyshire when her two-year-old niece Isabella suffered a febrile convulsion caused by a fever, which according to the NHS is usually harmless.

But instead of coming round from the seizure, the child stopped breathing and Miss Epps jumped into action, carrying out four rounds of CPR to revive her.

She said: “I calmly told her dad to ring an ambulance and I started CPR. It was the first time I’ve ever had to carry it out on a child and I never want to experience it again, it was horrific.

“My sister was out at the time and I then had to make the hardest phone call to her to tell her what had happened.”

Miss Epps had been due to come home to Thanet the day after, but was so worried it would happen again and she wouldn’t be there to help, that she stayed another week.

Isabella was saved by her aunt Krystal

“My sister wasn’t trained in CPR and the thought of it happening again and me not being there was too much of a worry,” Miss Epps said.

The 32-year-old says the traumatic incident made her start thinking about how important it is for parents and families to have access to first aid training so they can potentially save a child’s life.

She said: “I was thinking ‘why are my friends not trained? why are parents not trained?’ and from that I thought I’d take it to a whole new level and see if there was someone out there who could help me set something up.”

She put a post on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested and Andy Webb, who runs Kent Surf School on Viking Bay and is a first aid trainer, responded saying he could assist.

“He is such a nice guy and he approached me saying he would be happy to help and would run a three hour course at £10 per person,” said Miss Epps.

“Then Philip Thorley said he would let us use the function room at The Pavilion for free, which means having space for 60 people rather than 30.

“It gives me goosebumps. I never thought people would help me like this.”

The family first aid event is on Friday, September 24, from 9.30am to 12.30pm and will focus on CPR, what to do if a child chokes and seeing how a defibrillator is used.

Miss Epps, who works for Marie Curie and is part of the NHS community nursing team, says she is so grateful for the support.

“I wanted something positive to come out of this,” she said.

“I needed something to focus on. My head was not in a good place after what happened; the images of it just kept going through my mind. I’m still not over it, but organising this has helped.”

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