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'One that stuck most': Retired healthcare worker searches for baby he saved in Billings over 30 years ago

'One that stuck most': Retired healthcare worker searches for baby he saved in Billings over 30 years ago
Posted at 5:28 PM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 12:21:07-04

BILLINGS — After having a healthcare career for nearly 50 years, David Roche was preparing to retire from St. Vincent Healthcare after being a nurse for 20 years there.

While pulling out some old memorabilia to get ready for his retirement "shindig" as his wife called it, the couple found a brochure for CPR Saturday. On the brochure is a photo of Roche and his partner, David Turnsplenty, with Roche holding a baby.

'One that stuck most': Retired healthcare worker searches for baby he saved in Billings over 30 years ago

Under the photo are the words, "This baby is alive today because of someone like you. Someone who took the time to learn CPR!"

It may have been 34 years ago, but Roche remembers the day they responded to the call while working for Billings Ambulance.

'One that stuck most': Retired healthcare worker searches for baby he saved in Billings over 30 years ago

“Infant not breathing,” Roche said. “That’s one of those calls that you just don’t ever want to have.”

Roche and Turnsplenty were going to be the first to arrive on-scene.

'One that stuck most': Retired healthcare worker searches for baby he saved in Billings over 30 years ago

“I don’t remember which street, but the house number was 911,” Roche said. “Then dispatch notified us, which really gets you wound, is, ‘We’re instructing the mother on CPS at this time.”

It was Turnsplenty’s first day on the job, so Roche took the lead. When they got to the home, the woman with the baby, who they found out was the babysitter, ran out of the home holding the baby, who was starting to turn blue.

“Right away started CPR as I was running back to the ambulance. Told my partner to pull the gurney out, placed the baby down, and started infant CPR,” Roche said. “All of a sudden, baby just opened up his eyes, kicked a couple of times, and started to cry.”

'One that stuck most': Retired healthcare worker searches for baby he saved in Billings over 30 years ago

It was a moment of relief as the baby was awake and breathing again. Roche believes it was four months after saving the baby that he saw him again, when they all gathered to take the photo for the brochure.

But he never got a chance to find out who the baby was that day.

“Within two hours, I was on a plane heading to San Diego for Marine Corps base camp to participate in Operation Desert Storm Desert Shield,” Roche said.

He is now curious about who the baby grew up to be.

“That’s the one that stuck most in my mind. I wonder what that person’s doing today,” Roche said.

His wife Leslie Roche made a post on social media hoping to find out more about the little one who is now in their 30's. Her post received a lot of attention online.

“I thought, well, why not? Put it out there and see what happens,” she said.

Leslie said they did get a promising lead on social media and believe they now know who the baby in the photo is. She said they have reached out and are waiting for a response.