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House-hunter revives nearly drowned child

Had it not been for a house-hunting trip, little Patricia Sullivan might have drowned Sunday morning in the family pool.

But Ben Giles, who was checking out houses on Eighth Avenue N with his wife and daughter, used cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to revive Patricia, 18 months. She was in critical condition at All Children's Hospital late Sunday.

Giles, 45, general manager of a St. Petersburg car dealership, said he saw a woman screaming in the front yard of 398 Eighth Ave. N about 10 a.m. and stopped the car.

Next to her was the still body of a baby girl, her skin white and lips blue.

"The woman was just hysterical. She said, "Oh please, save my baby. Is my baby breathing?' " Giles said.

Patricia's parents, Jill and George Sullivan, had been tending another child who was sick, said Sgt. Greg Tita of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. They looked for Patricia and found her face down in the pool. Paramedics said she had been in the water about two minutes.

The Sullivans, who were in the hospital awaiting word on their daughter's condition Sunday evening, declined to comment.

Giles said he immediately began CPR, a skill he had learned from television shows and from renting a video that demonstrated it. Living near water, he figured it would be a good idea to know how to save someone.

Patricia Sullivan was his first attempt.

Giles' wife, Joni, called 911. Other neighbors then helped revive the toddler, and she was coughing and breathing by the time paramedics arrived.

Lt. Tom Malone of the St. Petersburg Beach Fire Department said the CPR "pretty much saved the girl's life."

Giles said he was glad he was there to help.

"We just hope the baby makes it," he said. "That's all that matters."