Hadassah pediatrician saves life of baby choking on marble

Man tapped her on the back in a head-down position while racing to the operating room.

A pediatrician at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Medical Center saved the life of a hardly breathing, seven-week-old baby who had a glass marble struck in her throat – by tapping her on the back in a head-down position while racing to the operating room. Fortunately, surgery was not necessary, as the maneuver shifted the marble into her mouth, allowing it to be taken out manually. The drama took place Wednesday morning at the Ein Kerem hospital, with the blue baby resuming full respiration only about five or six minutes after she arrived at the emergency room. Dr. Ophir Bar-On was on duty when Magen David Adom radioed in advance that they were bringing in a baby from Beit Shemesh whose older sister (about three years old) had innocently put a green-and-red marble into the baby's mouth. It was not clear where in the house the parents were when the incident occurred. The parents noticed the baby was hardly breathing and frantically called MDA medics, who could not remove the marble. The baby's two other siblings were left with a neighbor, and the parents accompanied the infant to Hadassah. Bar-On said the infant had apparently stopped breathing completely for an short amount of time. "When she arrived at the hospital, she was blue, almost not breathing and near death due to the aspiration of a foreign object. We quickly did an X-ray, which showed a round object deep in her throat, too far down to remove with a tool or a finger. A hard glass marble cannot easily be removed from the throat without surgery," he told The Jerusalem Post. While the operating room was prepared, Bar-On ran with the infant face down on his arm, tapping her on the back continuously and vigorously. Two minutes had passed when he reached the door of the operating room and the marble popped out of her throat into her mouth. He set her on the surgical table and pulled it out. "She immediately began to breathe fully and cry. Neurologically, she looks good. I never had such an experience before – running with a baby who was barely breathing and having her suddenly come back to life. My adrenaline was really going," he said. The relieved pediatrician put her on a steroid infusion to prevent edema, and she was kept under observation. Bar-On also found the baby was suffering from hypothermia, with her temperature only 33 degrees Celsius, so she had to be warmed. He urged all parents to take first-aid and resuscitation courses to learn urgent live-saving measures. He added that parents should avoid leaving a young child alone with a baby without direct observation, and that they must keep all swallowable foreign objects out of the reach of young children.