A Florida police officer was recently recognized for his heroic actions last fall when he helped save the life of a then two-month-old baby who had trouble breathing.
As Britney Ochoa of Tavares, Florida, was getting ready to go to bed on a November night, she felt compelled to check in on her infant Elias, whose breathing is monitored by a specialized machine, according to WOFL.
“I was about to go to sleep, I just had like a Mom instinct to look over at Elias, and his machine started beeping, and it kept getting lower and lower,” Ochoa told WOFL in an interview published Wednesday.
She says she called 911 and was talked through the CPR process until officer Teddy Pearl arrived and took over.
Pearl gave the baby CPR and maintained an open airway until paramedics got to the scene, the Tavares Police Department said in a Wednesday post.
Per Lake County news website, Inside Lake, Elias suffers from several health issues:
Elias was born with holes in his heart and has undergone open heart surgery since the incident on Nov. 13, where his airway was described as “floppy.” He is deaf in one ear and suffers from a condition that makes his heart rate drop and oxygen levels go down causing him difficulty breathing, but that seems to be improving now, Ochoa said. He recently underwent a sleep study and it came back normal.
Pearl told WOFL that the November incident was the first child-related call he has received:
Any kid call is a scary call. It’s the first one I did. I really had to go back to my training and experience. My lovely coworkers back here they guided me through situations like this. I just thought about my loved ones, you know? If I were in that situation and I needed help and someone was there, I’d want them to perform in the way that I did, so yeah, couldn’t have worked out any better.
After the medical emergency, Pearl visited Elias in the hospital and has kept in touch with Ochoa and her family.
“It’s just a genuine care… It’s not, you know, do our job and leave and never think about it again,” he told WOFL. “You know, you have these interactions, you build these relationships, and you care. I don’t know how else to really explain it, but it doesn’t leave. It stays.”
He noted he hopes to keep in contact with the family going forward.
For his efforts that helped keep baby Elias alive, Pearl was awarded the Care Force Award from Fox 35 Orlando.
“He is my hero. He is my family’s hero,” Ochoa said. “We all are appreciative of him, and we’re thankful for him.”