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Paramedic on phone helps father save child choking on breast milk

Ambulance personnel calms down baby’s father and instructs him on the steps to revive child

Image Credit: Courtesy Dubai corporation for ambulance services
The Director of operations Department Talib Ghuloom accompanied by the Head of the Emergency Dispatch Khalid Qasim Balushi honor the medical correspondent Essam Al Faqih
Gulf News

Dubai: A medical dispatcher helped prevent the death of a less-than-a-month-old baby who stopped breathing after milk got stuck in his airway.

The Emirati baby’s father who was terrified by the incident called 999 asking for help to save his baby who had turned blue and showed no signs of response.

A medical dispatcher from the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) quickly took the call to calm the father and explained to him what he needed to be done to save the child before it was too late.

“It happened around one week ago. The child was being breastfed at the family’s home in Al Twar and stopped breathing because milk was obstructing his airway. Time was not in the best interest of the child and we had to act quickly,” said paramedic Essam Al Faqih.

Al Faqih said it was important to make the child’s father calm down so that he could listen to the first-aid instructions and carefully apply them to save the child.

“The father was very responsive as we asked him to follow a step-by-step CPR process to help dislodge the milk from the baby’s airway. We stayed with him over the phone and asked him to place two of his fingers in the middle of the baby’s chest and gently press down three times,” he said.

In less than a minute, the baby began to throw up the milk and started to regain consciousness. An ambulance then transferred the child to Latifa Hospital.

“The child is now in a stable condition. The baby wouldn’t have been saved by the time the ambulance reached,” Al Faqih said, who has been working with DCAS for the last nine years.

Many similar cases have been reported to the command and operations room at Dubai Police of late, according to DCAS.

“We’ve had many emergency cases like this and we try to always calm the callers down and ask them what the exact case is so we can help them on how to deal with it. Usually in the case of mothers, it’s much more difficult to calm them down because they go into a state of panic,” he said.

He also advised parents to get the right training in first aid and CPR so they can know how to deal with any case at home.

“Of course, we feel happy when we are able to save someone’s life. This is our job.”

Talib Ghuloom, director of Operations Department at DCAS, said paramedics at DCAS are well trained to deal with cases like these. “We continue to test the readiness of our staff, including our paramedics, ambulance drivers, and medical dispatchers, in handling these cases with full expertise.”

Al Faqih was honoured with a certificate of appreciation for his efforts and sincerity in performing his job.