By Elizabeth Elizalde and John Annese
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — A baby’s spit-up on his jacket was a happy sign for NYPD Officer Wendell Dias — it meant he’d just delivered a holiday miracle by saving a 9-month-old girl from choking to death.
Oluwakamisore (Atalia) Givens was eating cereal in her Brooklyn home about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday when she started choking, police said.
The tot’s mother, Blessing Olanrewaju, 31, and her sister, Rema Okoh, frantically tried to save the little girl.
“I’m just scared, panicking. I handed the baby over to my sister, called 911,” Olanrewaju said.
Okoh, 30, started praying as she took instructions from the emergency dispatcher.
Help soon arrived — it was a “beautiful thing,” Olanrewaju said. “Within two minutes, someone was downstairs.”
Dias and his partner, Crystal Barbosa, were patrolling in Brownsville, just a few blocks away from the Stone Ave. home, when they got the call and rushed in to help.
“Thank God they just showed up on time and they saved us,” Okoh said.
“We got up there, we see the baby. The baby’s laying down, not breathing,” Dias said.
Dias performed infant CPR on the tot, with Barbosa backing him up.
“We go get the baby, clear the baby’s airway, make sure she was all right,” he recounted.
When the officer picked up Atalia after applying the life-saving procedures he and Barbosa learned in the police academy, “she vomited all over my jacket, which is a great thing,” Dias laughed. “I think that’s a blessing.”
“I feel great,” Dias said. “I feel like I won mega billions, not millions, mega billions!”
Olanrewaju said she was grateful for the help from her sister, who was getting ready for church when the terrifying ordeal unfolded.
Dias, 44 and a 12-year NYPD veteran, said he experienced a similar choking scare with his young daughter — the same week he got CPR training at the police academy. He used his new skills to clear his daughter’s airways and save her life.
Barbosa said she’d never dealt with a choking child before.
“”It was definitely scary for me but I remained calm the entire time,” said the 29-year-old officer, who joined the NYPD three years ago. “The family is already worried, I’m worried and freaking out so we have to remain calm. We just got there and do the best that we can to help this family.”
Barbosa added, “We’re grateful that it happened during this time. The family can enjoy the holidays together.”
Copyright 2018 New York Daily News