A 3-year-old Auckland girl having a severe fit was dramatically rescued by emergency staff who "breathed for her" by placing a tube down her throat.
St John's paramedic Jeff Mabbett and volunteer firefighters Lauren Malkin and Arie Litherland were this week reunited with toddler Ivy Barn after the harrowing ordeal in May, which involved a medical procedure rarely used on children.
Speaking four months on from the incident, parents Laura and John Barn, said it was Ivy's third seizure in her lifetime and by far the most serious.
"We put her in the recovery position because we didn't know what else to do," Laura Barn said.
Malkin said that after responding to a 111 call from the Barns, they found out the nature of the job on the way there.
"So instantly you start thinking 'oh my gosh, this is going to be a serious job'."
She and Litherland arrived at the Barn's West Auckland house five minutes after the 111 call was made. At that point, Ivy's seizure had been going on for 15 minutes.
"At that point, I believe Ivy started vomiting and her jaw had locked shut," Litherland said. The volunteers determined that it was a "status one" emergency - an immediate threat to life.
Malkin alerted St John staff to hurry, calling for a specialised paramedic too.
When Mabbett, an intensive care paramedic, arrived he made the call to resort to a procedure called rapid sequence intubation.
"Which is when we give her drugs intravenously… put her in a deep coma... paralyse her essentially, and place a breathing tube down so we can breathe for her, which stops her vomit going down into her lungs," Mabbett said.
"By all accounts that was successful."
He rarely had to resort to such a procedure.
"There's not many intensive care paramedics in New Zealand that can do it. So it's lucky that there [was] one available that can," Mabbett said.
"Because it has its risks. I probably do one a month at the most, which isn't very often."
He was quick to add it is mostly done on adults.
"I've not done very many on children and most people wouldn't."
Mabbett went on to reveal the job was particularly difficult for another reason - his own little girl was the same age and even looked similar to Ivy.
The toddler was taken to Starship and immediately placed in the Intensive Care Unit.
Laura Barn says they were told the worst case scenario was that Ivy could wake up brain-damaged.
"But she didn't" she said, smiling broadly. "We truly believe it's because of the work that was done to assist her before she even got to hospital."
Ivy, who has since been diagnosed with tonic-clonic epilepsy, is back to her usual bubbly and "loud at times" self, John Barn says.
"We're just happy with the effort that everybody did put in. And because of that Ivy is still here with us."