Teamwork and the quick response of the Melville Fire Department Rescue Squad saved the life of a 22-month-old infant girl last Friday night.
The Melville Rescue Squad had already responded to three calls on the evening of Oct. 5 as Dr. David Kugler and EMT Sue Rao were returning to the firehouse in one of the department’s ambulances.
At approximately 8:44 p.m., dispatcher Kevin Meneilly contacted the first responders over the radio and directed them to respond to a call for a choking victim at a residence on Colonial Springs Road in Melville, fire officials said. Kugler and Rao immediately headed for the address in the ambulance with lights and sirens blaring.
While on the road, the pair received an update that the choking victim was an infant and wasn’t breathing, according to fire officials. As Kugler and Rao raced to the house, the dispatcher provided emergency instructions over the phone to the frantic parents.
A minute after receiving the radio call, Kugler and Rao arrived at the house to find the family outside holding the baby girl. She was blue, unconscious and not breathing.
The baby’s father handed the girl to Kugler, who discovered that the child was choking on a grape. Fire officials said Kugler began resuscitation efforts by administering Heimlich Maneuver back blows and chest thrusts in an attempt to clear the child’s obstructed airway.
Fire officials said Kugler and Rao quickly got the baby into the back of the ambulance where they were able to suction the child’s airway and remove the grape. With the grape gone, the little girl began to cough and breathe again.
Melville Fire District Paramedic Brian Johnson hooked up the baby to a cardiac monitor and continued to stimulate her to encourage spontaneous breathing, according to fire officials.
A Melville fire engine driven by Ex-Chief Bob Reiser and crewed by Captain Pete Doran and Firefighters Nate Byrd, Tyler Silvestri and Dave Schneider arrived at the house shortly after to help with the lifesaving measures already underway.
Schneider drove the ambulance to Huntington Hospital as the EMS crew provided oxygen to the baby and supported her airway.
Fire officials said that by the time the ambulance arrived at the emergency room, the little girl was sitting up, awake and crying.