Superior of Indiana CCT Paramedic Takes Skills to Guatemala

Jan Ann Cox, a CCT Paramedic and 911 Contract Manager for Superior Ambulance of Indiana, recently traveled to Guatemala to teach a program to nurses and midwives called Helping Babies Breathe, a course all about teaching essential neonatal resuscitation and newborn skills to support babies that are unable to breathe on their own after birth.

Helping Babies Breathe was created in 2010 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization of 67,000 pediatricians dedicated to ensuring optimal health and well-being for children. According to the AAP website, Helping Babies Breathe has been taught to more than 850,000 providers in over 80 countries, including Cox’s trip to Guatemala. She found out about the program through a mutual friend on Facebook who shared a post from a flight medic that was looking for one or two more medical professionals to join him in teaching Helping Babies Breathe. Cox, having done a similar trip riding with the Mexican Red Cross just a year prior, instantly volunteered.

“Mission trips are a passion of mine,” she said.

Cox traveled to Guatemala with a group from Bachelor Creek Church of Christ out of Wabash, Indiana. From March 3-9, the group did everything from building homes to providing dental care to teaching the Helping Babies Breathe course. The first full day she was there, she was able to be a dental assistant and help provide dental work to what would be 400 kids during the week of Cox and her team’s stay.

“I’ve never been a dental assistant before,” she said. “It was a really cool opportunity.”

For the next three days, Cox and two other medical professionals taught the Helping Babies Breathe Course to 28 nurses and 19 midwives. The trio instructed the nurses on the first day and for the remaining two days, acted as a resource for them as they taught the midwives – one was 90 years old and had been practicing since she was 19, helping deliver over 4000 babies during her time as a midwife.

“It was an amazing trip,” Cox said. “I can’t say enough good things about it or the Helping Babies Breathe course.”

Bachelor’s Creek Church of Christ provided kits for the nurses and midwives that included a sand timer, a bag-valve mask, a suction device and a manual from the course. They were able to practice on manikins while Cox and her peers gave guidance as needed.

At the end of the three days, all of the nurses graduated as instructors and the midwives graduated from the Helping Babies Breathe course.

“The trip was both amazing and very humbling at the same time,” Cox said. “The best part was graduation. It was wonderful to see the ladies dressed in their best for the ceremony we held for them.”

Cox and the other two instructors also received a certificate with an official seal from the Director of the Department of Health Services as a thank you for their time.

“The experience was just unbelievable,” she said. “I met some really great people. We were a family for a week and I left with the biggest smile on my face. I would absolutely do it again.”

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