By: Sharon Aron Baron
In a terrifying moment for a local mom, her one year-old daughter Arianna started choking on a grape, completely obstructing her airway. The mother made a distressing phone call to the Coral Springs 911 dispatch center where police first arrived on the scene and performed CPR until she was handed off to paramedics.
The incident, which happened on July 11, 2014, was recounted by Lt. Jonathan Robbins with the Coral Springs Fire Department who said that when they arrived, Arianna didn’t have a pulse. They began CPR and made a few attempts with a suction unit. They looked and saw the grape lodged in between her trachea and vocal cords and was able to pull it out with forceps.
“I was able to to see the grape and pull it out,” said Robbins. “It looked like she had inhaled it.”
Robbins said that as soon as the grape was removed, Arianna’s pulse came back and she vomited. They ventilated her, and then left for the hospital.
“When we left for the hospital, she had a very weak cry, but by the time we left the hospital, she was crying.”
Robbins, who has has worked for eight years with the Coral Springs Fire Department refuses to take all of the credit. “There were five guys there. I didn’t do everything.”
What he does like to credit, is the recent implementation of an innovative pediatric resuscitation system, The Handtevy Pediatric Box, at the department. Using the system, the others had an assigned role prior to arrival, and were fluent with the appropriate equipment sizing and medication dosing. Robbins and his crew followed Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) guidelines and rapidly retrieved the partially chewed up grape from Arianna’s airway, which had already filled with blood and vomit.
“When we deal with pediatrics, we deal with different sizes,” said Robbins. “There’s no guessing about the size of the tube. We just open up the age pouch and and everything is there for us.”
He said that Coral Springs adopted the system last February. “I have used it a couple times and I’m sold. Every engine and rescue has one.”
Today Arianna is 100 percent recovered after a short stay at Northwest Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Her mother, now a strong advocate for basic life support classes, is thankful to have her child back in her arms.
Stay tuned in March where we’ll be covering both the family and the Coral Springs Paramedics who will be reunited at the Fire Station where Coral Springs Fire Chief Frank Babinec will present his personnel with an award.