La Crosse, WI (WXOW)-- After just one semester of nursing courses at Western Technical College, Megan Barbian figured she was at least a year and a half away from saving lives. However, that all changed Wednesday night, when a 20-month-old girl was pulled from the water at Pettibone Beach.
"When I started she had no pulse, no respirations, she was really really pale, her lips were a blackish purple color," Barbian said.
Lifeguards were not on duty at the time and Megan was the only one on the beach who knew CPR.
"The little girl reminded me so much of my niece, and I was like ok, this is her, " Barbian said. "You need to do, what you need to do to save her. Did it cross my mind that yeah she might not make it? Yeah, and I was scared. But I started compressions, and after a few minutes she took her first breath. And I was like, we're getting somewhere."
The child's family wishes to remain anonymous, but did contact Western to tell them about Megan's heroic actions.
"To me, Megan is an angel," the girl's grandmother said. "I mean, my granddaughter wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Megan. And I hope she'll always be part of our family. It's just remarkable that a stranger can do that."
Gundersen Lutheran also took notice of Megan's actions and offered her a job as a pediatric nurse when she finishes school.
"Just thank you, from the bottom of my heart Megan," the grandmother said. "My family thanks you. You are going to be the best nurse in the world. And words cannot express how grateful we are."
The child is now home and her family says she's back to her normal self.
Both Megan and the girl's grandmother say the incident highlights the importance of knowing CPR.
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