911 dispatcher calms mother to save choking baby

MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - A Middletown woman called 911 Wednesday in desperate need of help -- her 11-month-old baby girl was choking, turning purple, and she didn't know what to do.

The mother and her 11-month-old were alone inside a home on 18th Street.

The dispatcher, Rhonda Deaton, has been on the job for 2 1/2 years.

"What are they chocking on?" she asked.

The mother was frantic and barely understandable at first.

"I don't know," she responded. "She doesn't have any (inaudible) please!"

"OK," the dispatcher responded. "Stop screaming so that I can assist you. Take a deep breath. What's your name?"

It took a few seconds for Deaton to be able to calm the mother down and get her name and address. As she was working on the mother, another dispatcher was sending police and fire crews to the home.

"When that tension is on you, you have to perform. It's like sports -- either you make it in the end zone or you don't," said Maj. Andy Warrick, who runs Middletown's 911 center.

He said his operator was racing against time.

"The clock is ticking," he said.

Four minutes with a lack of oxygen can result in brain damage, Warrick says.

On the phone, the dispatcher helped the mother stay focused.

Dispatcher: "Do you see something in its mouth?"

Caller: "No, no I don't. Her lips are getting purple."

Dispatcher: "OK turn the baby over on its stomach."

Caller: "OK."

Dispatcher: "Hold in your hand and I want you to thrust on the back of her back."

Caller: "OK."

Dispatcher: "Is the baby crying at all?"

Caller: "No, she is trying to breathe and she's turning purple, she's turning purple."

The first time she tried to get the marble out of the baby's mouth it didn't work. The dispatcher told her to do it again and then the listener can hear the child crying on the 911 call.

FOX19 has been told the baby is going to be OK.

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