Fairfield EMS recognized for life-saving response to choking infant

Five Fairfield EMS first responders were recognized at Tuesday’s city council meeting for an early-July response that saved the life of a 2-year-old girl.

“Typically, in about a year’s time, we do about 6,200 EMS calls. And I know [that] on every single one of those calls, our men and women do a great job,” said Tom Wagner, the deputy fire chief for Fairfield.

“Occasionally some of those stick out to me,” Wagner said.

This occasion occurred on July 5, when Station 31 was called to respond to an infant girl who had choked and stopped breathing while she was at home.

“When they got on the scene, they were met by the parents at the front door that had the infant in their hands. And, you think about the trust that we’re given by our community,” Wagner said.

“To show up, and here’s these parents, handing you their lifeless kid. That’s a lot of responsibility on you to do your job, and these guys knocked it out of the park.”

Wagner said the responders immediately tried basic tactics to get the child breathing again, including “back blows,” a non-intrusive way to try to clear obstructions. After back blows wouldn’t work, responders resorted to more complicated ways to save the girl.

Wagner said the responders used a laryngoscope to peek into the larynx and forceps to find and retrieve a grape that was caught in the airway.

“[They] managed to get the child breathing again,” Wagner said.

Wagner said the girl was then transported to Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus, where she was still deemed to be in “pretty serious condition.”

Dr. Caitlin Valentino, a physician at the campus ICU, reached out to Wagner to commend the Fairfield EMS crew on their response.

“Fairfield EMS absolutely saved this child’s life,” “I believe had EMS not acted quickly, the kid would have arrested in the field. This was a great save.”

Wagner said he felt recognizing the great work of EMS responders showing the positive impact they have on the community is important to the workers themselves.

“So, on behalf of the department, thank you very much,” Wagner said.

Also in attendance was state Rep. Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester), who spoke before the council to comment on the ceremony.

“I want to remind you that we are very very short with our EMS and our police force,” Gross said.

“We need to really take a moment to really remember that we need to be raising our community and our children to value these jobs and to encourage them to seek to follow them [in their footsteps],” Gross said.

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