Choking Toddler Recovers after 'Scary' Incident that Damaged His Brain

The paramedic said the food was lodged underneath the boy's vocal cords


 
 

Brent Ruffner, Valencia County News-Bulletin | | Thursday, February 23, 2012


BELEN, N.M. -- Two-year-old Glenn Contreras-Mares rested comfortably in the arms of a Belen firefighter on a recent night at the local fire station.

Six weeks earlier, the scene was much different when the little boy was rushed to an awaiting ambulance after he had a piece of sausage lodged in his throat.

The boy was eating dinner with his mother, Elizabeth Mares, and grandmother, Jeana Lucero, when he began choking.

"He went limp," Lucero said. "He was blue from head to toe. All I could think was, 'Oh my God, oh my God, please don't die.' But he pretty much already was -- he was dying."

According to medical records, the boy was having a cardiac arrest and unable to cough up the piece of food as emergency crews arrived on scene.

Belen Fire Capt. Joe Saiz and emergency medical technician Chris Martinez were the first responders and decided to take him to meet the ambulance to save valuable time.

"We needed to get where we were going," Saiz said. "He was limp. We just started doing what we are trained to do."

Saiz said part of that training involved getting to the home in under three minutes and performing CPR on the boy until paramedics could work on getting the food dislodged.

Living Cross Ambulance paramedic Kevin Druce said the food was lodged underneath the boy's vocal cords, and just when it appeared the food was coming free, the 2-year-old would try to take a breath and the sausage would go back under his vocal cords.

The boy has enlarged tonsils that make his airway abnormally small, his grandmother said.

Druce said paramedics used a tool that could move the vocal cords and were able to remove the piece of food on their second attempt.

"It took us about 40 seconds to a minute, once we got started," Druce said.

The team was able to get a pulse while traveling along Interstate 25 to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque.

Glenn spent six days in the hospital and contracted pneumonia and strep throat while he was trying to recover.

Doctors found he had brain damage in the lower part of his cerebellum that initially affected his motor skills.

"It was scary," Lucero said.

The toddler was signed up for physical therapy three weeks after the incident, but constant help from his family has apparently paid off.

"Last week, they called and said they couldn't put him into their physical therapy because he was too intelligent," Lucero said. "We had already rehabilitated him to the point that he was where he was (mentally) before the accident happened.

"We read to him, we taught him how to walk and talk all over again," she said.

Lucero and Mares recently took the boy to meet his rescuers at the Belen Fire Department to the surprise of the emergency crew who saved his life. The family thanked the emergency medical personnel with gifts.

Now, Glenn is able to talk, play and do other things like any other 2-year-old boy.

"It's a blessing," Mares said. "It gives me a different outlook on life."



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, choking, cardiac arrest

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York First Responders Take Extraordinary Steps to Help Residents

Snow causes fire and EMS crews to go beyond call of duty.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Raw Video: Explosion and Fire at California Business

Over a dozen hurt in Santa Paula blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Workers Killed at Texas Chemical Plant

Five employees exposed to methyl mercaptan in La Porte.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Worker Killed in North Carolina Bridge Collapse

A fatal construction site collapse occurred in Wake County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Crashes into Chicago Home

Pilot reported engine trouble after takeoff.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Switzerland Landslide Kills Two, Injures Four

Slide hits residential building near Lugano.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

World Trade Center Rescue

Technical rescue work is done at nation’s tallest skyscraper.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >