This will be a New Year like no other for the Dhaliwal family of Lathrop.
This past Christmas was the same.
And for a very good reason. A miracle, no less.
A miracle that was made possible by the quick action of some of our society’s everyday heroes — firefighters and emergency personnel. In the Dhaliwals’ case, the angels who wrought a miracle for the three-generation family were the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District firefighters from J Station 1.
The fateful incident happened a few days before Christmas. Councilman Dhaliwal had been barely in bed, having arrived at home about a quarter to three from his graveyard shift with the Santa Clara County Department of Transportation. About 4:30 a.m., he was roused by a frantic call from his father downstairs. Dhaliwal’s parents, Tarith and Gurmit, both 67 years old, occupy the bedroom on the ground floor of the councilman’s two-story home in Woodfield Estates.
Rushing downstairs into his parents’ bedroom, Dhaliwal found his mother unresponsive and not breathing. He felt her wrist and did not detect a pulse. Trained in giving first aid, the councilman immediately started CPR on his mother, “but the mattress was giving way so it was not very effective,” he said.
Frantically, he continued to do it until the firefighters and paramedics arrived. Only then did he leave the bedroom so the paramedics “could do their job without interference,” and joined his father and the rest of the family anxiously gathered in the living room.
With a heavy heart, Dhaliwal went up to his father and gently said, “Dad, it doesn’t look good. I think she’s gone; she’s no more.”
In the bedroom, the paramedics immediately moved his mother onto the hard tile floor “so it was easier to do CPR,” he said. But they, too, were unsuccessful in reviving her. So they used a defibrillator.
While Dhaliwal and his family were all huddled quietly in the living room, he heard a cough coming from his parents’ bedroom. He hurried inside and was told by the paramedics that “she was still alive.”
He rushed back to his father and said, “she’s still with us.”
“Thank God,” his father said.
Dhaliwal said it was the defibrillator that revived his mother.
“My whole family believes that the paramedics and firefighters are our heroes, and I thank them for saving my mom’s life and the lives of our citizens they have saved before,” said a grateful Dhaliwal.
“It was a very scary situation. Being there and your mom is not responding, it’s a very scary situation, but I’m so glad that help got there in time,” he said of the quick response from the firefighters and the Manteca Ambulance District.
“The ambulance and the fire department got there really quick. We really, really appreciate what they did. She didn’t even have oxygen deprivation in her brain.”
That experience drove home the importance of calling 911, Dhaliwal said.
“People should not hesitate calling 911. One call saved my mom’s life,” he said.
A deeply grateful Dhaliwal added, “God gave me the most precious gift this Christmas. God gave the family the most precious gift this Christmas.”
What happened to his mother, he said, “is a miracle. We believe in miracles, and God has a plan for everything. You got to believe in God.”
Gurmit Dhaliwal was initially transported to San Joaquin General Hospital. She was later transferred to San Joseph’s Hospital in Stockton where she is scheduled to receive a pacemaker on Thursday.
“I spoke to the doctor today. Hopefully, she’ll come home New Year’s day,” Dhaliwal said of his mother.
During the holidays, he said, “we visited her (at the hospital) everyday. One family is with her all the time,” with members of his family and that of his brother’s and sister’s families alternately doing their hospital duty.
Dhaliwal said it was his father, who is retired from Avis Enterprise in the Bay Area and a member of the Stockton Sikh
Temple management committee, who called 911 right away after being awakened by the sound coming from his sleeping mother. “He called 911 right away before he called me,” Dhaliwal recalled.
He later told his father, “You know, Dad, you waking up saved mom’s life.”
His father answered, “No, God saved her life. God woke me up.”