'Are we sending my son to die?': Mother tells of choking incident that left her son, 2, fighting for his life

'Are we sending my son to die?': Mother tells of choking incident that left her son, 2, fighting for his life
Two-year-old David Healy in hospital after choking on peanuts

A mother has urged the public to learn first aid after her two-year-old son nearly choked on peanuts on a family break in Kerry.

David Healy from Cork was stuffing peanuts into his mouth and when his mother Grace saw this she tried to take the snack from him.

It was then that David began choking. Grace said the incident was terrifying.

"I turned him around and did five back slaps. Loads of peanuts fell out of his mouth, but he still couldn't breathe and was turning blue quickly," she said.

"My husband Philip called 999 and I continued with the backslaps but his colour was worsening so I continue working on him.

Then my worst fear happened, he went completely limp and unresponsive.

"I knew there was something blocking his airwaves and the only thing I could think of was mouth-to-mouth to push the peanuts down into his lungs.

"I did a head tilt and a chin lift and gave the two biggest breaths of my life after blocking his nose.

"Almost immediately the colour started improving.

Grace, who is a qualified nurse, said it was the scariest two minutes and 58 seconds of her life.

“Never during my career as a nurse did I think I would have to do three minutes of intense CPR on my own child."

David was rushed to Kerry University Hospital and was subsequently transferred to Crumlin Children's Hospital.

A chest x-ray indicated that David had no air going into his left lung so he was rushed to theatre.

Grace said an ENT consultant came over from Temple Street Hospital and saved David's life.

"He told us it was the most difficult case in his entire 23 years of surgery and they nearly lost him many times in the theatre.

"They found four whole peanuts in his left lung and peanut fragments. He just kept repeating how lucky he was to survive surgery."

David was on a ventilator in the ICU and after he was weaned off he was transferred back to the main ward.

Grace said the doctors were sure he was doing well but three hours later he was rushed back to ICU and back on the ventilator.

“His right lung was now failing and he needed more surgery.

I remember my husband Philip asking the consultant 'are we sending my son to die?', because he was critically unstable and because of the risk of the surgery.

David underwent more surgery and 11 more days on a ventilator before he was able to breathe independently.

Grace said she has decided to go public on the incident because she wants to make parents aware of the need to learn CPR.

"We just couldn't believe that one minute David was playing with his older brother in his grandparent's house in Ardfert, County Kerry where we were having the best weekend of our lives.

"He just picked up a bag of peanuts and began stuffing them into his mouth."

She also wants parents to be aware of the dangers peanuts represent to very small children.

"Please learn CPR and keep your skills updated. It could make the difference to your child or someone's child."

"I didn't save David's life, CPR did".

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