Corpus Christi, Texas, Dec. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Dec. 6, 2019, medical professionals from Corpus Christi Medical Center Bay area (CCMC) and the City of Corpus Christi Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are visiting Moody Elementary School in Moody, Texas to reunite with 7-year-old, Damien Chrisner, a patient who survived a near fatal drowning at Padre Balli Park Beach this summer. The reunion, which is on Damien’s birthday, will take place at 1 p.m. in the school, located at 200 Avenue D in Moody.

While vacationing with his family at Padre Balli Park Beach, Damien was playing with two boys who were later seen walking the beach without him. Tiffany and David Chrisner, Damien’s mother and father, panicked and frantically started searching the beach for their missing son. Over 150 yards away he could see people gathered in a circle around someone lying on the beach. As David approached, he recognized his son’s feet in the sand.

“My son was incoherent and his lips were dark blue,” said David. “It was my worst nightmare and I knew we were in trouble. I instantly went into first responder mode.” Damien’s father served in the U. S. Air Force as a security forces flight chief and he is a trained military police officer.

David broke into the crowd and found David Ochoa, an international missionary who rescues children from human trafficking, giving Damien CPR. Both men provided CPR until the EMS arrived. Family members prayed at Damien’s feet, while pleading, “Be strong, Damien. You can make it. Please come back to us.”

Damien had been missing for more than 10 minutes and was found floating face down in the water when Ochoa and his son pulled him onto the beach. “Mr. Ochoa was our angel; we were blessed to have him at the right place at the right time and we will forever be grateful,” said Tiffany Chrisner, Damien’s mother.

Arriving within minutes, Orlando Torres, a paramedic with the Corpus Christi Fire Department, took charge as he delegated the next steps in delivering the care necessary to save Damien. Accompanied by his father, Damien was taken by ambulance to Corpus Christi Medical Center. During the transport, Damien remained unresponsive. “Keep breathing my son,” prayed David. “You are going to make it.”

On Damien’s arrival at CCMC, emergency room doctors and nurses launched into action, hovering over him as a whirlwind of professionals were in and out of the room. David noted, “The staff was extremely supportive and comforting. A nurse named Tabetha stayed by our side to ensure we were doing well throughout the crisis.”

Once stabilized by the medical team at CCMC, Damien was transferred to a local children’s hospital where he remained in a coma for two days. “Damien was not breathing on his own; it was definitely touch and go,” said David. “We were told he may not make it.”

On the second day, Damien woke from the coma. He has since made a full recovery and is a healthy, happy 7-year-old boy who enjoys time with his family. Damien said, “We cannot let the ocean win, dad. Let’s go back to the beach again!”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die from unintentional drownings a day and drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death. Data from the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services shows that eighty-seven children have lost their lives to fatal drownings so far in 2019. Additionally, there are 5-6 times more non-fatal drownings that fatal drownings each year.

About Corpus Christi Medical Center
Committed to the care and improvement of human life, Corpus Christi Medical Center has been a growing part of South Texas for the past 50 years. What began as a 26-bed facility in the early 60s has grown into a multicampus health care system offering a full range of medical services, outstanding clinical care and superior technology. From caring for fragile newborns to complex cardiovascular patients, Corpus Christi Medical Center ensures the community receives the highest quality medical care available. The campuses of Corpus Christi Medical Center are Doctors Regional, Bay Area, The Heart Hospital, Northwest Regional, Bayview Behavioral Hospital, Northshore Emergency Center, and Radiation Oncology at Corpus Christi Cancer Center. For more information about Corpus Christi Medical Center, visit www.ccmedicalcenter.com.

About HCA Houston Healthcare

HCA Houston Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare in the Houston area, where excellent trained physicians, nurses and allied health professionals treat almost a million patients and provide more than $2 billion in charity care every year. With an employee base of 15,000, HCA Houston Healthcare’s comprehensive network includes 13 hospitals, nine outpatient surgery centers, 11 freestanding emergency centers and numerous freestanding diagnostic imaging facilities in the greater Houston area. It also includes a regional transfer center that provides one-phone-call access and support for patient transfers into and out of HCA Houston Healthcare  facilities as well as access to ground and air transportation within a 150-mile radius. For more information, visit www.HCAHoustonHealthcare.com.

HCA Houston Healthcare is part of HCA Healthcare’s Gulf Coast Division, a comprehensive network of hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, emergency centers and diagnostic imaging facilities in greater Houston, Corpus Christi and South Texas areas. Facilities in the Gulf Coast Division include: 16 hospitals, nine ambulatory care centers, 15 freestanding emergency centers, and a regional transfer center that provides one-phone-call access and support for patient transfers into and out of the HCA Gulf Coast Division hospitals as well as access to ground and air transportation within a 150-mile radius. HCA Gulf Coast Division is part of HCA Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of quality healthcare services with 185 hospitals in the United States and England.

Lisa Robertson
HCA Gulf Coast Division
3613367349
lisa.robertson@hcahealthcare.com