A traveling dialysis technician, 26-year-old Mindy Painter, just happened to leave work early Wednesday and was home in Chandler when she heard screams.
"Call 911!" a man yelled from outside her apartment.
She and her sister, Heather Painter, ran outside and saw the cause of the hysteria — a motionless small girl lying on a patio near the community pool.
Mindy Painter didn’t know the child, but she knew what to do.
Her sister boosted her over the locked gate, and she ran over to the 3-year-old and checked her pulse.
Painter wiped away vomit from someone else’s attempt to save the little girl and began CPR.
Only a few breaths and compressions later, the child gasped and threw up.
Paramedics arrived at 2101 N. Evergreen St. moments later and took the crying little girl away in an ambulance.
"I believe Mindy was very instrumental in helping this girl," said Chandler Fire Battalion Chief Dan Couch. "What she did was enough to get the child’s heart and breathing started again."
Painter, who works at Renal Care Group in Sun Lakes, has extensive CPR training but had never used it on a child.
"It’s a lot different looking down at someone who hasn’t even begun her life," Painter said. "You just keep seeing that face."
According to Couch, the girl fell in the pool for about 10 seconds when a man babysitting her told her to stay on the step while he was helping his child. When the man turned around, the girl was in the water.
"The first four minutes are critical," Couch said. "I think it’s critical for people to learn CPR so they can help right away." Painter agrees and was glad she could use her experience to help save a life.
"Just being able to react and have a cool head about it helped," she said. When asked if she considers herself a hero, Painter replied, "I’m just happy the little girl is OK because that’s all that matters."
The American Heart Association offers CPR certification classes throughout the East Valley. Prices range from $20 to $40 depending on the type of class. The following are some locations:
• Chandler Regional Hospital, (480) 821-3291
• Rural/Metro Corp. in Scottsdale, (480) 627-6605
• Mesa Firefighters Association Local 2260 in Gilbert, (480) 892-2862
• Employee Health Management Systems in Mesa, (480) 827-2277
• Apache Junction Fire District, (480) 982-4456 For more locations, visit
The American Red Cross also offers classes. Call (480) 336-6490 or visit www.arizonared cross.org