The parents of a 7-year-old Brooklyn girl are blaming school staffers after their now brain-dead daughter choked on her public-school lunch.
New York Post reports:
Noelia Echavarria’s family continues to keep her on life support at NYU Langone Medical Center in hopes “she’ll make her way back,” family lawyer David Perecman said.
The first-grader choked on a sandwich last Wednesday at PS 250 in Williamsburg. Her parents suspect she may have tried to finish too quickly, as she had complained about being rushed by teachers in the past.
“They should have saved her life,” mom Ana Iris Santiagosaid through tears. The mother had to be hospitalized herself after she had multiple seizures from seeing her child hooked up to the ventilator.
A private EMT who happened to be driving past the site transporting a nursing-home patient was hailed down by a school worker and tried to help Noelia.
“She was already turning blue and that takes awhile,” said the medic, Qwasi Reid, who works for Assist Ambulance in Brooklyn.
Reid thinks that the young girl had been choking for at least five minutes before he got there — and added that no one in the building seemed to be helping her. “People were screaming, but no one was doing anything,” he said.
Reid said he was later suspended because it’s against company policy to make a stop without being called.
“It sucks that I’m getting penalized for trying to save someone’s life,” Reid said. “If they’re not getting paid for the job, they don’t give a crap about you. But she was a priority for me.”
Perecman, who is considering a lawsuit, said he’s “troubled” by the amount of time it took for the school to call 911, adding that he believes the first emergency call came from Reid, not the school.
“My concern is how the school responded. If he’s the first person who called 911, then the school did not,” he said. “They need to have an honest investigation, not a cover-your-back investigation.”
He also is upset by the lack of information provided by the school.
PS 250 Principal RoseAnn LaCioppa sent out a letter to parents reassuring them that the staff is trained to deal with emergencies.
“Let me also assure you that all procedures were followed that day,” she wrote.
“Providing a safe learning environment for our students and staff is very important to us.”
A Department of Education spokeswoman insisted that the “principal and faculty responded swiftly to the emergency.”
Assist Ambulance did not immediately comment.
(Photo Source: NY Post)