A 7-year-old girl from Chicago is alive and well after almost choking on a balloon.
Mia Rodgers, 7, was blowing up balloons with her cousins on Aug. 30 when the incident occurred, WGN-TV reported. She took one deep breath in, and suddenly, the balloon was stuck down her throat.
“It was real fast,” Estevan Rodgers, Mia’s father, told WGN-TV. “She fell in my arms, and I proceeded right away to try and get the balloon out. I knew that by me panicking and freaking out it would not help her."
“I proceeded with CPR. She was already turning purple and blue.”
The family quickly got a hold of emergency services.
“My partner and I were on routine patrol, and a man ran into the street hysterically waving his arms, flagging us down telling us, ‘We got a girl down over there, we got a girl down over there!’” Officer Peter Pietrusiewicz of the Chicago Police Department, recalled, “She had her eyes open, but it was a blank stare. It looked like she was just gasping for air. My partner then took over and started doing chest compressions.”
For Officer Victor Alcazar, this was more than your average day on the job.
“I have two kids at home and seeing this little girl, you want to take action right away so just jumped right in there,” Alcazar said.
Brendan Hehir, a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department, told the news station he could see the green balloon at the base of the girl’s throat.
“Her pulse rate was going down from about 150 beats a minute down to 40, which means she’s on her way out,” Hehir explained. “My partner Ron tossed me an instrument we have called the McGill forceps. I put the forceps in her throat to try and pull the balloon out.”
“And as he went in she took like a last second gulp breath, and you just saw it disappear,” Kent recalled. “And we just kind of looked at each other like, ‘Let’s go.’ We got her right into the ambulance where we had the suction ready.
“As I’m suctioning I kind of held it there a second longer, I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I felt the balloon, I could see the balloon coming and I just shouted, ‘I got it, I got it!’ If we didn’t get that balloon out there was not a good outcome, for sure she was not going to make it.”
“This one was by far the scariest run I’ve ever been on because when we got there she was still breathing and then died basically in our arms,” Hehir said.
Mia’s pulse rate stabilized, but she still wasn’t breathing. She was intubated at a nearby hospital, and then transferred to Lurie Children’s, where she was placed on a powerful ventilator.
The 7-year-old spent six days in the intensive care unit. Doctors said that had it not been for the father’s quick-thinking, Mia might not have made it.
“The neurologist said that her dad and that officer that gave her CPR they saved her life, they saved her brain,” Chantel Carroll, Mia's mother said. “I’ll be forever grateful to both of them for doing that.”
Mia was able to return to school two months later. She drew pictures for the people who helped save her life.
“I think they’re very awesome,” Mia said.
“This is why you get into this stuff, so you can see the kid afterwards, so it’s awesome,” Kent added.
The Chicago Police Department took to Facebook to thank the officers for their heroics.
“The officers and paramedics quick response and teamwork and her subsequent treatment at Lurie Children's Hospital is the reason we get to see the bright smile on second grader Mia Rogers face. The bright, talkative, grateful young lady gave her "First Responding" heroes thank you cards as all were reunited.
Mia looks forward to enjoying this weekend's Halloween holiday as any child her age would.”