Editor-in-Chief Mali Schantz-Feld shares an unforgettable act of kindness
In these high-tech times, news travels fast. Social media, television, newspapers, and the Internet bombard us with stories, and we skim and move on. This story, however, touched the hearts of our entire MedMark team — especially since two of the people involved change lives every day as dental specialists. These heroes banded together and performed an unforgettable act of kindness that saved a toddler’s life.
The story starts on a beautiful July day on Newport Beach in California. Twin brothers from Mesa, Arizona, Orthodontist Stuart Frost, Endodontist Steve Frost, cousin Jesse Martin, and many other family members were having a reunion vacation. Down the beach, they heard screams for help and saw a mother frantically searching for her 2-year old son, Brooks. Most people didn’t give the mother’s screams a second look — maybe because it’s easy for a child to wander off on a packed beach. According to one source, at least 10 children were reported missing in Newport on that day. The mother said that she had just turned her head for a minute to apply sunscreen to her other child. The Frost twins’ mother’s words echoed in their minds. “Our mother always taught us that when someone is in need, you step up to help them,” said Stuart.
While the parents were scanning the ocean water, the three men had another idea. Noticing that some children had been digging deep holes in the sand near where the toddler was sitting, they remembered warnings from past years about collapsing beach sand. They started digging. Then, as Stuart recalls, “I’ll never forget it as long as I live. Jesse said, ‘I found him!’ and he pulled him by the hips out of the hole.” The ordeal was not yet over. After lying face down under the sand for about 5 minutes, the boy had sand in his mouth and was not breathing. Stuart continued, ““He was ash gray; he was dead. So we pulled him out, and the mom was just beside herself.”
Before paramedics arrived, the two dentists cleared the sand from Brooks’ mouth and started compressions — putting into action the skills they review every 2 years during CPR training. And then, the boy’s lips started to quiver, he started breathing, and screaming for his mother. “It was truly the most miraculous thing I ever experienced in my life,” said Stuart. Brooks was transported to the hospital and made a full recovery.
“After spending 22 years in endodontics and recertifying my CPR every other year, I felt like instinct took over, and I knew what to do,” said Steve. Many of us think that we have to know how to rescue breathe and do compressions, but in reality, it is the chest compressions that saved this little boy’s life.” Stuart added, “I went to the beach that morning to relax and enjoy the day; I never dreamed I would be using my CPR training to help save a life. After looking back on that experience, I have realized more than ever before that we have to act in crisis situations instead of sitting back and letting someone else help out. Too many times we may be tempted to let someone else help, and we miss an opportunity to serve someone else in a life-changing way.”
Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brent Jacobsen noted that entrapment under the sand is a realistic danger. No one should ever dig a hole that is deeper than 1 foot, and climbing into a tunnel dug in the sand is extremely hazardous since sand can weigh several hundred pounds.
A couple of days later, the heroes and the family met on the beach. What do you say to people who saved your child’s life? Stuart summed up the reunion: “There were tears of joy, hugging each other, crying together. Wow, talk about a happy ending; it was just spectacular.”
This article was compiled from news articles, news videos, and interviews with the dentists.