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Girl helped save stepfather

February 18, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Benjamin Best doesn't remember anything that happened to him after about 6 p.m. on Feb. 13.

He later learned he collapsed while playing video games with his 11-year-old stepdaughter, Victoria Moore, in his North Martinsburg home just before midnight, he said Wednesday, a day after returning home from the hospital.

What happened next still amazes Best, 33, who still was awaiting results from tests to find out why he collapsed.

He was told "Tori" called Berkeley County 911, then gave him CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

"I tried to wake him and he wouldn't wake up," Tori said from her home in Falling Waters, W.Va., where she lives with her mother, Ella Knopp, and sisters, Kaela Moore, 10, and Bri Best, 6.

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The dispatcher at the 911 center quickly grasped the seriousness of the situation and talked young Tori through the process of CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

"That didn't work and then my dad vomited," Tori said.

She was told to clear his mouth of the vomit and wipe his tongue so he wouldn't choke, and she did.

Still unconscious when rescuers from the Berkeley County Ambulance Authority arrived at the house, Benjamin Best was jolted back to consciousness by emergency personnel using a defibrillator, Tori said.

"The call came in just before midnight," said Mary Kackley, director of the 911 center for Berkeley County. She said one of the center's supervisors gave the instructions to Tori while he summoned for help at the same time.

"He kept me calm," said Tori, who noted she had no previous instruction in CPR.

Kackley said Thomas Gorman, who was staffing the Berkeley County Ambulance Authority's mobile unit that night, took the three children to City Hospital because they were too young to be left alone.

Later, Tori said, her mother came to the hospital to be with her daughters and take them home.

"I'm so very proud of Tori," Benjamin Best said Wednesday. "I'm glad she was there."

Tori, a sixth-grader at Spring Mills Middle School, said she is glad she was able to help save her stepfather.

"But I hope I never have to do that again," she said.

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