was children fighting but as the voices got louder I clearly heard women yelling. I quickly raced outside.
Everyone was panicking and as I tried to figure out the situation the situation escalated. The screaming increased and the air was filled with tension.
I looked around until I saw my neighbor sobbing hysterically and her young child limp in her daughter’s arms. He was bleeding from his mouth. I instinctively grabbed him and my nursing skills kicked in automatically: “What happened?”
“He swallowed a lollypop. Someone gave my baby a lollypop. Look, he is turning blue. We called for Hatzala and an ambulance but no one has come yet.” His mother started to sob hysterically.
I immediately began emergency tactics. I fleetingly thought I better work fast “Please Hashem, help me know how to help this baby.”
I tried hitting him on the back but to no avail. It seemed the daughter had tried to grab the lollypop with her fingers and mistakenly had pushed it deeper. Not having any other choice I decided to do the Heimlich maneuver which I knew could cause damage in a young child. I sent up a silent prayer and put my hands in the right position and it did not work. The situation was getting more urgent as the child had been without oxygen for almost three minutes.
The wailing of the neighbors and children kept escalating around me.
Ok, just do it again. If you break a rib at least the child will be alive.
I pressed my hands into the right position and felt a surge of energy enter my hands and pressed hard. B”H, out flew a whole lollypop. The blood gushed from the child’s mouth and he gasped for breath. Nothing seemed to be broken as he began squirming freely in my arms.
“He is ok,” I called to his mother. “Come see for yourself.”
His mother ran forward and hugged her son crying in relief and everyone crowded around to see for themselves this miracle. Now the screams turned into cries of joy. Everyone tried to pile close in to express their relief but the mother was too overwhelmed to speak. She went into shock.
So I immediately shooed the crowd gently away and took the mother and baby into my home to wait for the ambulance, which still had not arrived. Finally twenty minutes later the emergency crew arrived. The mother had calmed down a bit by then and we all were trying to recover.
I shivered silently and thought to myself, “Chas veshalom, imagine what could have of happened if this child had been so long without oxygen”.
Hashem has put me in the right place at the exact time. It was a true miracle.
The medics checked the baby who by this time had relaxed and was playing happily with my children. They were amazed at the calm scene that greeted them. They had missed all the pandemonium.
They sent him off with his older sister to the nearby clinic to check his throat which was still bleeding slightly. We later found out it was just a scratch and would heal in a few days. This was the only minor damage the baby had sustained from this ordeal, B”H.
Our neighbors popped in throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening we were all still shaken up by what could have happened. It only slowly began to sink in that I had really saved this baby and prevented any permanent damage by staying calm and working quickly.
To this day I can picture this scene in my mind’s eye and I can recall each step of the incident as if it just happened. It is something I do not think I will ever forget.
Many of the neighbors asked me to give a class in first aid including emergency rescue, which did come to fruition about a month later and was widely attended. It was amazing to be able to teach this to such a responsive audience. The incident with my neighbor’s baby had woken us all up and here was a hands-on way to try to prevent such further mishaps.
The morning after this incident I received a phone call from my neighbor; they were having a seudas hodaah that night and could we please come. I happily agreed and once again thanked Hashem for the zechut I had in being able to save this precious baby’s life.
This baby has grown into a special young man who is about to have his bar mitzvah, he smiles at me every time he sees me and I am delighted to see him flourishing. We all remember how we almost lost him. To this day I remain grateful that Hashem gave me the honor of saving a life.