Nurse who saved drowning toddler at mall tells her story

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Thursday, August 29th, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A 2 year old is still in critical condition tonight after falling into a fountain at the Augusta Mall Wednesday afternoon. But investigators say Alayna Rose Ishmael would've died on the scene if it hadn't been for the nurse who pulled her out.

Laurie Newman says it was all part of God's plan that she was there that day. For her, it was just supposed to be a quick stop at the mall.

"Got off work and went to a hundred places like I always do and was about to head home and decided to stop by real quick," she said.

But she says that quick stop changed her life when a man stopped her by the fountain.

"I was talking on my cell phone and he approached me and he pointed this way and said is that a baby in the water," she recalled.

The words caught her by surprise, but when she turned to look she says," I looked over and I saw this child floating face down in the water".

A nurse for 17 years her training quickly kicked in as she ran to the fountain and grabbed the child.

"I checked for a pulse and checked for breathing and everything I was supposed to and there was nothing," she explained.

So she started CPR and was quickly joined by another woman.

"I was doing the compression's and the breathing and she was counting, holding the baby's head for me," said Newman.

She says EMS arrived in less than 10 minutes put the little girl on a stretcher and rushed her to the hospital. That was the last time Laurie saw the little girl.

"[It was] the most heartbreaking sight that I've ever seen before in my life," she said.

Originally an officer told her the little girl didn't make it, but later learned she was in critical condition at the hospital.

"I'm just proud that God chose me to be there because I knew what to do,' she said.

And she says now she's a better mother, because of what she saw, "I thank God everyday for my children and hugged her tighter."

Laurie says she'd like to get in contact with the others who helped, the woman who did CPR and the man who pointed Alayna out. She says she never saw him again after that moment, but says he has a lot to do with saving that child's life.

The Augusta Mall says that added that fountain in 1990 and have not had any problems with it..

Investigators say it was just a tragic accident and the little girl's mother is not facing charges.


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