Quick-thinking Derek saves six-year-old son Ben after he collapsed on family farm

A Co Tyrone farmer has told how his prompt actions saved his six-year-son, who had stopped breathing.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 5:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 5:33 pm
Co Tyrone poultry farmer Derek Robinson saved his six-year-old son Ben after he collapsed on their farm.
Co Tyrone poultry farmer Derek Robinson saved his six-year-old son Ben after he collapsed on their farm.

Derek Robinson, who lives near Aughnacloy, had just received a new batch of chickens and his six-year-old son, Ben, was excited to see them. It was May 2019.

On their way down to the chicken house, Derek stopped at his cattle house to start his slurry mixer.

In line with instructions, he intended to leave it mixing for 30 minutes while went to inspect the chickens. He directed his son to stay outside - at least ten metres away from the building - which he did.

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But after several minutes Derek checked on Ben only to find him walking towards him with a cut on his head. His first thought was that his son had fallen and had hit his head, so he lifted him and started carrying him towards the house to dress the wound.

But alarmingly, at that point his son’s eyes started rolling in his head. Derek placed his son on the ground, at which point he realised that he wasn’t breathing.

“I thought I had left him a safe distance away out in the open, some ten metres away. I didn’t believe I was doing anything risky - I certainly wouldn’t do that with him. But within two minutes I must have released that much gas,” he said. Derek must also have been at risk, he believes, but believes the difference was that his son was much closer to the ground. In addition it was a very still day with no wind.

He had done first aid training several years beforehand and began to use CPR on Ben.

Thankfully his son began to come around, but very slowly.

Straight afterwards he signed up for a more in depth course.

“There was not going to be any help for Ben for at least 15 minutes apart from me. And those are very crucial minutes.”

He is now appealing to everyone, especially the farming community, to know the everyday dangers that exist in such a high risk environment, and to avail of the free First Aid Awareness training being offered by the College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE). The course is free to farm families and farm workers and is available as an online evening session. See www.cafre.ac.uk/business-courses/first-aid-awareness/ or phone Colette on Tel: 028 822 50544 or email [email protected] or [email protected]