After near-drowning, Bushnell Township child on the road to recovery

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:15 am on Thursday, May 03, 2012

Konnor Baker is recovering from a near drowning at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. — Courtesy photo

BUSHNELL TOWNSHIP — The grandmother of a 20-month-old boy who was found in a pond said it was the cold water that saved her grandson and helped to bring him back to life.

“He is doing extremely well,” said Marcia Swartzmiller, the grandmother of 20-month-old Konnor Baker.

On Saturday, Michigan State Police Lakeview Post Trooper Patrick Agema responded to the 9100 block of Tessie Court off Boyer Road in Bushnell Township after receiving notification that Baker was found unresponsive and without a pulse in a pond.

According to Swartzmiller, Baker was outside with his grandfather while he was working on the lawnmower.
“It was a matter of seconds,” Swartzmiller said, adding her husband turned to grab another tool and when he looked back, Baker was gone.

Swartzmiller ran to her neighbor’s house, owned by Raymond Case, and asked if he saw a little boy with a red coat.

“I had just walked out of the front of the house, so I knew he wasn’t there,” said Case of Baker, adding he ran straight to the pond after realizing Baker also was not by their swing set. “As I got closer, I saw something red floating in the pond and knew nothing red was suppose to be in the pond.”

The next few steps were a blur to the Swartzmillers and the Case family.

Case said he remembers jumping in and pulling Baker out of the pond to start CPR. However, Case is completely blank as to what happened next because it happened so fast.

“He was so cold to the touch, his skin was purple and gray and his eyes were not responding to me,” said Case said, his eyes clenched shut while remembering the fact that Baker did not have a pulse. “I believe wholeheartedly that I pulled out a dead boy.”

Swartzmiller agreed with Case as she replayed the scene back in her head.

“Konnor was completely out,” she said. “He was dead.”

Agema arrived with Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). A paramedic took Baker to the ambulance to attempt resuscitation. The paramedic was unable to find a pulse and Baker was unresponsive to any stimulus.

He was transported by Montcalm County EMS to Sheridan Community Hospital, where resuscitation efforts continued. His heart restarted and he began to breathe on his own.

“God was watching over all of us,” Swartzmiller said.

Baker was airlifted to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he is listed in serious condition.

“God gave him a second chance,” Chase said. “God allowed him to participate in a miracle.”

Swartzmiller said Baker was able to get his tracheostomy tube out and that he is currently breathing on his own.

Because of the accident, Baker lost muscle tone, but will soon be able to start therapy to gain it back, she said.

But the doctors are not saying too much more about his condition. Currently, Baker’s family is not sure when he will be able to come home.

“We are taking it day by day,” Swartzmiller said.

The doctors did tell her the temperature of the pond helped to save Baker’s life. Because of the cold temperature, his brain went into “hibernation” and did not completely lose connection with his body, she said.

Case went to visit Baker in the hospital to see how he was doing, and to see a warm, colorful 20-month-old child.

“I want to see him running around like a 20-month-old should be, not how I saw him on Saturday,” Case said.

Both Swartzmiller and Case said prayers flooded in for Baker during the first hour of the news.
“Prayers came from all around the world,” Swartzmiller said.

On behalf of the parents, Jessica Hardy and Dan Baker, Swartzmiller said they would like thank everyone who gave their best wishes for Baker and for all of the help they have received.

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