Deputy Michael Colaluca was working his regular second-shift patrol on Sunday when he heard a call he said is everyone in law enforcement’s worst fear — a newborn baby who was not breathing.
Colaluca patrols the area near Paddock Lake. When he heard the dispatch call just after 6 p.m. about a 2-day-old baby who was not conscious, not breathing and turning blue, he knew he would be the closest to the house.
“It’s the one call you fear to get when you are on the road,” he said.
When the four-year veteran of the department got to the home in 6600 block of 236th Avenue, he said a relative ran out of the house to flag him down.
“When I got inside, the mother was standing at the top of the stairs holding the child,” Colaluca said. “She immediately told me, ‘She’s not breathing; she’s not breathing.’”
Colaluca said he took the baby and checked to see if she was breathing.
“She had partial chest rises,” he said. “I did a slight chest compression and she started to cry a little bit.”
But it appeared she was still struggling to breathe.
“Her mouth was opening and closing; it looked like she was gasping, and she was turning red,” he said.
He turned the baby over on his arm and did back slaps — used as a substitute for the Heimlich maneuver on infants. The baby began to cry and breathe normally.
Along with the mother and the extended family, Colaluca said he watched the baby — who now appeared to be doing well — until rescue personnel arrived.
The baby was taken to a local hospital, and according to Sgt. David Wright of the Sheriff’s Department, she is believed to be doing well.
The family could not be reached for comment.
Colaluca said the family told him they had been getting ready to feed the baby and had just given her a liquid vitamin before she went into distress.
“I’m not sure what she choked on, or if she was choking,” he said.
He said the baby was born Friday, and he believed had just come home from the hospital for the first time earlier in the day Sunday.
Colaluca credited the dispatcher and the baby’s mother for the outcome.
“My part in the whole scheme of things was really quite small,” he said, saying the dispatcher worked to calm the frantic new mother and talked her through the process of doing back blows before the deputy arrived.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do what I was able to do if it wasn’t for dispatch and the mother.”