By Robert C. Bess Sr.
Noelia Echaverria, a 7-year-old student was laid to rest on Friday, after spending 10 days on life support and succumbing to her symptoms from choking on her food at school. Friends and family gathered to pay respect and love for Noelia.
Noelia was found in the hallway of her school, Public School 250 of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, on October 21, 2015. She was kept on life support for 10 days before she died. Apparently, after finding Noelia in the hallway lying prone, staffers that found her did not attempt either the Heimlich maneuver or CPR. An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who happened to be near the school was summoned by staffers and provided emergency response upon his arrival on the site. Qwasie Reid, the EMT, commented that the corridor where Noelia was found was isolated with no adult supervision around.
Noelia’s family has decided to sue the school for $25 million because of the lack of supervision provided. Carlos Santiago, Noelia-Lisa’s uncle said to ABC 7, ‘My niece came out of the lunch room eating a sandwich. They say she was choking. She was holding her throat.’ Noelia’s mother Ana Santiago said to PIX11,
“I want the school really, really come and give me the answer. And I want them to tell me the reason they let my daughter, be like that in the hospital, and nobody coming to tell me.”
Speaking on behalf of the teachers and faculty of Public School 250, the Principal RoseAnn LaCioppa wrote in a letter to the parents of the school, “I want to reassure you that our school personnel have been trained in response to emergencies and we will always follow all protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of all our students.”
Qwasie, who was the only person to try and help the young girl has been suspended because he stopped but was not officially called by dispatchers to answer the emergency call. He had been transporting a nursing home student when he and his partner were flagged at a red light. Qwasi’s partner did not want to stop; they were in the process of transporting the patient from the nursing home. Qwasi recognized the urgency of the situation and began to prioritize what was going on. He then jumped out of the ambulance and began to administer first aid. He cleared her throat, put an oxygen mask on her, used a defibrillator and then began CPR.