Minneapolis contractor saves homeowner's baby
Clear the airway
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following steps to clear the airway of a choking infant younger than age 1:
• Assume a seated position and hold the infant facedown on your forearm, which is resting on your thigh.
• Thump the infant gently but firmly five times on the middle of the back using the heel of your hand to release the blocking object.
• If that doesn't work, hold the infant faceup on your forearm with the head lower than the trunk. Using two fingers placed at the center of the infant's breastbone, give five quick chest compressions.
• Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts if breathing doesn't resume. Call for emergency medical help.
• Begin infant CPR if one of these techniques opens the airway but the infant doesn't resume breathing.
by Eric Hartz
When Michael and Sarina Lamarche hired Kevin Lithgow, the owner of KL Drywall LLC in Minneapolis, to tape and mud the drywall in their basement renovation, they knew what they were getting - a three-time Angie's List Super Service Award winner.
But the Lamarches got far more than that from Lithgow on the morning of June 6, when a typical day turned into a parent's worst nightmare.
Kevin was working in the basement with his crew, while Sarina was upstairs with her two sons: 2-year-old Daxton and 9-month-old Ryder.
"I had to take the toddler [Daxton] to the bathroom, and the baby was out in the living room playing," Sarina says. "I heard [Ryder] ... it sounded like he was kind of crying, choking. I ran out to the living room and could tell he was choking on something."
Sarina tried to clear the baby's windpipe but couldn't get the lodged object out. She tried turning the baby upside down. She tried patting him on the back.
In desperation, Sarina gathered the baby and ran to the basement.
"I could see she was pretty upset," Kevin says. "She said, 'My baby's choking. Can you do anything?'"
Kevin reminded Sarina to call 911 and while she went for the phone, he grabbed Ryder.
"I saw he wasn't breathing and was starting to turn a little blue," Kevin says. "I reached down his throat and felt something in there. [It was at the point where] it was either do something or he was going to be in serious trouble."
Kevin didn't give up, reaching down the baby's throat as far as he could. "I ended up being able to get [the object] aside," he says. "I think it finally went down [his throat], and then he started doing all right."
By the time paramedics arrived, Ryder was breathing normally and even smiling. The Lamarches never found out what choked him.
Sarina credits Kevin for keeping a clear head when she was panicking. "I wasn't even thinking of calling 911," she says. "I don't know what I would have done if he wouldn't have been here. I thrust this choking baby on him, and he was totally calm and just handled it."
Growing up, Kevin accompanied his father on ski patrol and knew what to do in emergencies.
"I just know that anytime people panic, they usually get lost or confused or just overwhelmed," he says. "Being calm and collected is the best way to be successful in anything."
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