A 25-year-old Waringstown man has told an inquest how he fought in vain to save the life of a toddler who had become ensnared in a blind cord.
Adam King fought valiantly to try and save two-year-old Bryan Saba, who was lying unconscious on the living room floor of his Portadown home.
Bryan’s family and coroner, Joe McCrisken. praised graphic designer Adam for his efforts to save the little boy.
Working for a Portadown firm at the time, Adam was having lunch in his car at Goban Street on September 11 last year, when he saw a young man (Bryan’s older brother Sindatche) running down the street, stopping an older couple and seeming to gesture that he wanted a phone.
They “appeared to dismiss him” and he kept on running, said Mr King, who opened his window and could hear a female crying loudly inside a house.
“I was at first concerned about getting involved,” he said, “but I am thankful now that I put my heart before my brain.
“I went to see if there was anyone who needed help.
“I walked over the threshold but I was concerned that someone had been attacked.”
In the living room Adam found Bryan “motionless on the floor” with his eight-year-old sister crying and very distraught.
“It was clear she couldn’t speak English,” he said, “so I called an ambulance while the operator talked me through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”
As the child’s aunt arrived and flew into a “hysterical” state, Adam attempted CPR and described the boy’s condition down the phone, before the ambulance crew arrived.
He admitted he was glad he didn’t freeze up and that adrenaline appeared to kick in to help him.
“I don’t want glory,” he said. “I am just trying not to think too much about it.”
Though the Sabas spoke little English, Mrs Saba’s interpreter said: “For a long time she has wanted to meet Mr King. [She] just wants to say thank you for your help.”
Mr McCrisken added: “Those comments I will echo, both for myself, and on behalf of the community.”
The coroner also urged parents to scour their homes for potentially lethal blind cords.Bryan’s father, Feliciano, a civil planning and excavation engineer, told the inquest he and his wife were confronted with the anguish of their loss every day and had to rely on divine strength to help them through the pain.
He and his wife Maria Jose are originally from Guinea-Bissau in west Africa. The family moved to Northern Ireland in February 2015.
At the time Mrs Saba - a hydro engineer - was in Italy, where their son Bryan had been born.
On September 11 last year Mr Saba went off to work and Bryan was at home with his sister Edyneusa (16) and half-brother Sindatche (19).
There were no direct witnesses to precisely how the subsequent tragedy unfolded; it seemed Bryan had climbed onto a settee before ensnaring himself in the cord. Edyneusa was the first to find him, and frantic efforts began to raise help and resuscitate the boy.
He was taken to first to Craigavon Hospital, then the Royal Victoria Hospital, but had suffered substantial brain damage.
His life support machine was turned off more than two weeks after the accident and he died on September 26, his family donating his liver, kidney and adrenal glands for transplant.
Pathologist James Lynas told the hearing Bryan was the third child he knew of who had suffered such a fate in three years.
Coroner, Mr McCrisken, said that despite efforts there remained “thousands, potentially tens of thousands, of lethal looped blind cords” here and he dubbed them “silent killers of babies and young children that lurk in our homes and those of our relatives”.
He pleaded with every parent or guardian to replace unsafe blinds immediately.