Teamwork and the quick response of the Melville Fire Department Rescue Squad saved the life of an 11-month old infant girl on Oct. 5.
Melville Rescue Squad ambulance 2-5-45 was returning to headquarters following the evening’s third call when it was directed at 8:44 p.m. to respond to a call for a choking victim by Dispatcher Kevin Meneilly.
Staffed by Dr. David Kugler and EMT Sue Rao, the ambulance immediately proceeded to a residence on Colonial Springs Road. While en route they received an update that the call was for an infant choking and not breathing, and the dispatcher was providing instructions over the phone to the frantic parents.
Arriving on scene a minute later, the family was outside the house holding the baby girl that was blue, unconscious and not breathing. The baby was handed to Dr. Kugler by the father, who told the crew that the child was choking on a grape. Kugler began resuscitation efforts by administering Heimlich Maneuver back blows and chest thrusts, attempting to clear the child’s obstructed airway. The infant was brought into the ambulance, and Kugler and Rao suctioned the child’s airway and removed the grape while providing supplemental oxygen, and the child began to cough and breathe.
Fire District Paramedic Brian Johnson hooked up the baby to a cardiac monitor and continued to stimulate her to encourage spontaneous breathing, maintaining an airway and transporting to Huntington Hospital. By the time they arrived at the Emergency Room, the child was sitting up, awake and crying as if nothing ever happened.
Melville Engine 2-5-8 also responded to assist, chauffeured by Ex-Chief Bob Reiser, officer Captain Pete Doran and Firefighters Nate Byrd, Tyler Silvestri and Dave Schneider. Firefighter Schneider drove the ambulance to the hospital, as the crew continued their lifesaving efforts.
Caption: Melville Rescue Squad EMT Sue Rao, Melville Firefighter Dave Schneider, and Melville Firefighter EMS Dr. David Kugler, who worked to save an infant who was choking on a grape. Photo credit: Steve Silverman