Investment in EMS system pays off with toddler's rescue

The dramatic rescue this week of 17-month-old Kennison Knifong, who was resuscitated after he was submerged in an irrigation ditch for an estimated 20 minutes, is a wonderful testament to the expertise and teamwork of Wallowa County's emergency services system.

Everyone, from the police officers who responded to the call of a frantic mother, to the ambulance crew who transported the toddler to the hospital, to the doctors and nurses who were waiting to deliver expert care immediately upon arrival, to the pilots who flew him to Boise, can take pride in knowing they had a hand in saving that baby's life. What greater reward could their possibly be for the members of this dedicated team?

This incident can also serve as a reminder to the people of Wallowa County who have so diligently supported the hospital over the years the value of their contribution. If all that investment ever did was position the hospital to save the Knifong baby's life, it was well worth the trouble.

This story is so harrowing and heartwarming, in part, because of who it involved. Anybody who knows Colby Knifong, the mother, knows she is an extraordinary teacher and person who loves kids and goes to extraordinary lengths to nurture them and improve their lives. How tragically ironic that her own son is the one who found himself in this predicament.

If it was ordained that the Wallowa County EMS system was to have one "save," it couldn't have happened to a nicer person than Colby Knifong.

Kennison Knifong isn't out of the woods yet. He is still listed as "critical" at St. Luke's hospital in Boise, where doctors are cautiously optimistic about his recovery. His father, Ken Knifong, reported on Tuesday that a CT scan shows no sign of brain swelling, that his son is starting to move more often, is looking better, and doctors are "pleased." The toddler is still in precarious shape but at least now he has a fighting chance. R.S.

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