Monthly Archives: December 2009

“This is someone’s 16-year-old kid”

A week ago Jennifer Manton was looking forward to taking her 16 year-old son for his learner's license, but now she's keeping a vigil at his bedside in the Intensive Care Unit at Royal Columiban Hospital after he collapsed in Moody Park last Thursday afternoon.

Pat Dyck’s first glimpse of Tristan Manton was distressing.
The 16-year-old’s face was covered with vomit, his skin was blue and he appeared to be dead.
Technically, he was.
Dyck, a seven-year constable with the New Westminster Police, found Tristan lying in a cold, muddy patch of grass in Moody Park. The teen had suddenly collapsed while running.
The father of two dropped to his knees to assess Tristan’s condition. He wasn’t breathing and there was no pulse. Training taught him he needed to keep oxygen flowing through the boy’s body until paramedics arrived.
Dyck gave him quick, deep chest compressions, powerful enough to break ribs but vital in getting oxygenated blood to Tristan’s brain and heart.
“This is someone’s 16-year-old kid,” he thought. “It could be mine.”

•••••

Minutes earlier, Dyck and his 28-year-old partner Scott Maglio had been wrapping up a routine traffic stop. A crowd of 10 teenagers suddenly ran past their unmarked SUV into Moody Park.
They had a look of fear in their faces, like they were being chased.
Maglio grabbed two teens and questioned them while Dyck ran their names through the onboard police computer. As they were explaining that they were fleeing another gang of kids, one of the teens who had fled into the park ran back to the officers.
“I need help. My friend’s collapsed.”

•••••

Less than 100 metres away, Jennifer Manton walked into her home with her 11-year-old daughter Savanahh and put away her coat. It was just going to be the two of them for the next hour as her son Tristan was going to a friend’s house after school.
The healthy teen, who plays junior football for the New Westminster Hyacks, hadn’t felt 100 per cent the last two days, complaining of stomach bloating. But he appeared better when he left for school that morning.
The return of his “hilarious” sense of humour told her that was the case.
Jennifer was just sitting down when her apartment buzzer rang.

•••••

After a minute of chest compressions, Dyck worried the teen was going to die right there in the mud, next to the excavation for the new Moody Park pool.
Just two weeks before, he and Maglio had re-certified in Level 1 First Aid.
The dummies they practised on were as unresponsive as the young student into whom he was trying to pump life.
Looking at the kid in front of him, Dyck thought “Holy cow. He’s dead.”
And then from nothing—life.
Tristan’s eyes fluttered open. He coughed. A quick check revealed a pulse.
Dyck and Maglio began talking to him, telling him he was OK. The kid was back from the brink, they thought.
Then all of a sudden he went limp again. No pulse and he wasn’t breathing.
This time Maglio went to work on the chest compressions while Dyck monitored.
A minute later the teenager was back—breathing, but not speaking.
An ambulance, just blocks away when Maglio radioed for help, finally arrived. As the paramedics got out, Tristan lost consciousness for a third time.
Dyck kept doing chest compressions as they loaded the teenager into the ambulance.

•••••

Jennifer Manton thought her son had broken his leg or hit his head when the teen at the other end of the intercom blurted out that Tristan was hurt.
She grabbed Savanahh, rushed out the door and the teen rushed her the block to where Tristan lay. The scene included four police cars, two ambulances and a fire rescue truck.
When the ambulance whisked him to the hospital, the police drove Jennifer and her daughter to Royal Columbian.
There, a nurse suggested to Jennifer that she bring Savanahh into her son’s emergency room.
Why? she thought. Was it because Tristan was dying, and that his family should be there for the end?
Although she walked in to find her son comatose, surrounded by medical personnel and equipment, she was given reason to hope.
He was stable.

•••••

As of today (Feb. 7), Tristan has been in hospital for 10 days. Doctors say he has an enlarged heart.
Jennifer can’t explain it.
There’s no family history of heart problems. All she knows is he and some friends were fond of drinking caffeinated energy drinks like Red Bull. Police have confirmed he was taking creatine, an over-the-counter amino acid supplement body builders use because it allows them to train harder and more often.
Doctors also told her they don’t believe Tristan suffered brain damage.
His lungs are hurt because he choked on his vomit, but they will heal.
She spends most of her days and nights at his bedside since the incident Jan. 29. When she does sleep it’s fitful and haunted by nightmares.
In one of the dreams, Tristan was calling on her cellphone but she couldn’t answer it.
“I’ve been so tired. I just shut down and go on autopilot,” she said. “They told me when (patients) are in ICU it’s a roller coaster ride—they improve and then they get worse. That’s the way it’s been.
“I’ve tried to be numb to it. But I had a really good breakdown the other day.”
Earlier this week Tristan woke after a week of being sedated.
He couldn’t speak because of the ventilator tube inserted down his throat.
But he smiled at his mom and made what Jennifer calls his “wacky face.”
“That’s Tristan for you.”
mmcquillan@newwestnewsleader.com

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