Gordon MacDonald was the fire chief and ambulance attendant for Gillam, Man. in November 2008 when a frantic 911 call came in from the boy’s foster father.
“He said, ‘My baby is choking,’” recounted nurse Diana Lynn White on Wednesday. “He was hysterical and crying for help.”
MacDonald and his partner were then dispatched to the house, where they found 13-month-old Cameron Ouskan laying on the kitchen counter.
Cameron was “pink and quite warm to the touch,” MacDonald told the court. But, he “was not breathing. He had no pulse.”
MacDonald drove Cameron to hospital around 1 a.m., and when he arrived, he and his partner Robert Helgeson managed to restore a heartbeat with chest compressions.
“It was very stressful, especially with a child,” he said. “We were all so pumped about our success. We thought it would be a positive outcome.”
Helgeson had difficulty getting the words out when he testified on Thursday.
“He was really, really trying to breathe on his own,” said Helgeson.
The baby boy was then taken to Thompson General Hospital, where he died shortly after.
Now, the boy’s foster father is on trial for second-degree murder in his death.
The judge in the case has already heard Cameron was frequently bruised before his death and had suffered a gash on his head days before his death.
"He always had a new bruise — maybe the size of a dime — every other day, every few days," his foster mother testified. "No one could explain that to me."
The Crown said it intends to show evidence the boy died from head trauma at the hands of his foster father.
Cameron was in the care of an aboriginal-run social services agency for about 10 months before his death in a home with his foster mother and father as well as four other children.
When Cameron’s foster father was charged with second-degree murder in 2009, RCMP said they were looking into a separate incident that sent the boy to hospital in August 2008, just months before his death.
But testimony from the boy’s foster mother said her husband was a gentle man who never hurt Cameron or their other children.
The trial is being heard just weeks before an anticipated report on the death of Phoenix Sinclair, a five-year-old girl who was killed while in foster care in the province.
According to provincial officials, 186 children have died in foster care since 1997, with between zero and three of those deaths being attributed to homicide each year.
The trial for Cameron’s death is expected to last five weeks.