NEW YORK—Ana Moreno was babysitting a 1-year-old boy early in the afternoon Sunday when she realized something was wrong.
“He’s not breathing, he’s not breathing!” she cried in Spanish.
She stood outside Rainbow Clothing store on West 181st Street in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Her 9-year-old daughter was panicking. Someone called 9-1-1 from the store.
Firefighters from a station house blocks away arrived quickly, followed two minutes later by the police and the ambulance.
A police officer carried the baby to the trunk of his patrol car. He checked the baby’s pulse. No. Breathing? No.
Moreno, the babysitter, couldn’t speak English. People began asking around for a translator.
Standing nearby was 23-year-old Cristina who was selling wool hats, scarves, and colorful bags at her family’s stall, one among many on 181st Street, an area filled with bursts of Hispanic music and the quotidian bustle of locals. Cristina ran over to help.
The emergency responders learned that the 1-year-old had once had an epileptic seizure; perhaps he was experiencing another attack.
The police officer, Thomas Dunn, gave the baby two chest compressions, and two rescue breaths on the trunk of his car.
The baby gasped for air. He was revived.
When Officer Dunn returned to the 34th precinct, his boss, Executive Officer Ernest Morales congratulated him for the rescue.
Morales felt it could have very easily been a tragic loss and complimented Dunn for bringing happiness to someone in the community.
“He was really humble,” Morales said.
The baby was taken to the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. He was released later that day, safe for Christmas.