“There’s enough bad in the world. If we can get some good every once in a while, it makes it all worth it.”
Lisa Finn, Patch Staff
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2022
HAMPTON BAYS, NY — A 5-year-old girl who fell out of a second story window in Hampton Bays last month survived — and on Tuesday night, the EMTs who saved her were honored.
The little girl was injured on October 13 after falling from a second-floor window in Hampton Bays, police said. According to Southampton Town Police, the child fell from an open window about 11 feet to the ground just before 6 p.m.
Police, as well as the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance Corps, responded. The child was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center and moved to Stony Brook University Hospital for further treatment, police said.
On Monday night, members of the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance Corps were feted at Peconic Bay Medical Center for their quick response and bravery.
Norma Corwin*, a firefighter, and paramedic for the Greenport Fire Department who also serves as a paramedic for the Hampton Bays Ambulance Corps, was dispatched, along with her crew, when the call came about the child’s fall.
And now, the girl is doing well and expected to make a full recovery, officials said.
Speaking with Patch Tuesday, Corwin described the night when she and her crew were called. “When we got there, she was in her mother’s arms,” Corwin said. “She just pointed to the window on the second floor, and said her daughter had fallen out.”
The woman told the EMTs that her daughter had fallen onto concrete, Corwin said. “I thought, ‘This is not good,'” she said. “My gut reaction was first, disbelief, then, thinking that it was a big fall for anybody — and especially a little kid.”
Her entire team sprang into action, checking the child out from head to toe, Corwin said.
“It wasn’t just me, there was definitely a whole team there,” Corwin said. “When we got there, police officers told us that she was alert, she was crying.”
Corwin said she told the child’s mother that she needed to see her, and “the little girl came right to me. I was holding her as still as I could; I didn’t want her to move. I told the other responder to check her back; I was trying to see if anything was broken.”
EMTs learn to look for the “ABCs,” she said — airways, breathing, and circulation. Because the child was crying, it was a good sign, she said. “We’re taught a crying child or a noisy kid is a healthy kid. It’s when they don’t cry that it’s not good.”
Aviation could not transport the child to Stony Brook University Hospital, due to poor weather conditions, Corwin said. At first, the goal was to bring her by ambulance straight to Stony Brook and they began to head west. “It was challenging,” Corwin said. “Raining, windy, and the traffic was horrible.”
Just as they reached the intersection on Sunrise Highway, Corwin, who was constantly monitoring the child’s vital signs, saw a “split second change in her mental status. Once eyes started to droop — a big sign for a head bleed,” she said. “I hollered, ‘We’re diverting again!'”
Knowing the girl needed a scan immediately, the ambulance changed course and raced to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, where a doctor and team met them at the door.
Although the girl was on a ventilator for a little while and also transferred to Stony Brook, she recovered, Corwin said, adding that she went to see her after what had happened.
“The hard part in examining people is you have to cut off their clothing,” said Corwin, a mother herself. “I felt so badly, she had on these cute little leggings. She was already scared and now, she was crying. I said, ‘I am so sorry.'”
Later, when she found out the child had returned home, Corwin brought her new clothes — leggings like what she’d had, and a green soccer jersey, trying hard to match what had been lost. “It was bad enough that she’d had to go in an ambulance,” Corwin said. “I didn’t want her to have such a terrible experience, at such a young age.”
As she started to leave after bringing the new clothes, Corwin looked up to the window, the same window the child had fallen from. “She was standing there, waving,” she said.
Corwin credited the teamwork of all the EMTs with her that day for the miraculous save. “One person was making calls, another person was gathering information, and another, vitals. Everyone just worked together.”
As a mother, Corwin said: “It’s really, really hard because you immediately think back to your own child. I have a son, 19, and I had to take him to the hospital many times for being a boy.”
Her son is now in fire service with his mother. “He’s shoulder to shoulder with me on some of the calls,” she said. “I’m able to share my ability to help people with him, and find out he enjoys it, too.”
The work involves good calls and bad calls, too, she said. “But you get a good one, one that has a good outcome, and you think, ‘This is what we train for, what we do, and why we do it.’ We want to help other people on their worst possible days and help them have the best possible outcome.”
Learning that the child will make a full recovery meant everything, Corwin said. “It just reinforces everything,” she said. “This is why we are there, not just for the lights and sirens. You want to help people.”
Corwin, who has been an EMT since 1989 and a paramedic since 1992, said service is a family tradition; her husband and family volunteer with the Greenport Fire Department.
What could have ended in tragedy ended up a story filled with hope: The little girl now will live to grow up and lead a full life. It’s what all who serve, hope for, Corwin said.
“It’s nice to know that for once there’s a happy ending,” she said. “There’s enough bad in the world. If we can get some good every once in a while, it makes it all worth it.”
*Norma Corwin, former Fishers Island Fire District Administrator & Paramedic