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French gendarme saves infant: “An early Christmas miracle”

A young female French gendarme

Xose Bouzas / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP

At 18, Maëlys distinguished herself as a volunteer gendarme by rescuing 13-day-old Maïssaa.

Aleteia - published on 12/26/23

In Isère, France, 18-year-old gendarme Maëlys showed exceptional composure when she saved the life of a newborn baby in early December.
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There are encounters that mark a lifetime. No doubt Zineb will never forget the face of young Maëlys. On December 6, this 18-year-old volunteer gendarme saved the life of her baby, 13-day-old Maïssaa. 

When the accident occurred, Maëlys had been a volunteer gendarme for less than 3 weeks with the Pont-de-Claix gendarmerie brigade in Isère (southeastern France). “On December 6, at around 9 p.m., I was on patrol with two colleagues, Blanche and Thomas, when we received a call from the gendarmerie’s operational center requesting an emergency intervention in a building in Pont-de-Claix for a baby who was choking,” the young woman told Le Parisien

Maëlys then entered the apartment, where she found the child unconscious on the living room coffee table, and her mother in a state of shock. “The child’s grandmother was there. She begged me to save her granddaughter,” continued Maëlys. 

Keeping a cool head under stress

Despite the chaotic situation, the young gendarme kept her cool and performed first aid on the newborn:

I took little Maïssaa in my arms. I saw that she was blue and not breathing, so I turned her over and slapped her on the back five times to try and clear the airway. And just as I was about to start cardiac massage, I realized that the baby was breathing again, that Maïssaa had regained consciousness. I was so relieved, because I couldn’t see myself leaving without saving her. I held the baby in my arms and kept watching over her until help arrived, five minutes later.

The young woman explains that it was her experience as a volunteer firefighter that gave her the right reflexes. “I took a first-aid course. And that really came in handy,” she noted. “When I saw the baby’s condition, I was able to channel my stress and perform the right actions. I’m very happy for the mother.”

“An early Christmas miracle”

The event, which could have turned tragic, had a happy ending thanks to Maëlys’ providential intervention. Relieved and grateful, the 26-year-old mother can now hold her baby safely in her arms.

“I was so scared! I thought my daughter was going to die,” she says. Thanks to Maëlys, the little girl recovered well, but remained hospitalized for several days for observation with her mother by her side. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank her for saving my daughter. It’s an early Christmas miracle. Thanks to her, Maïssaa will soon be reunited with her twin sister Mélissa.” 

The young gendarme was congratulated by her superiors for her admirable performance. The uplifting story of the rescue of little Maïssaa reminds us that in this Christmas season, the world is celebrating its greatest miracle, that of welcoming a tiny, fragile child who would be found lying in the manger of a stable.

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