Noelia Echavarria, a 7-year-old Brooklyn girl, was declared brain-dead after choking on her school lunch, and her family blames staffers for not responding fast enough, according to a New York Post article, which added that Qwasi Reid, the medic who eventually tried to help her, thinks that she had been choking for at least five minutes before he got there and claimed that no one seemed to help her.
“People were screaming, but no one was doing anything,” he said to the Post. “She was already turning blue, and that takes awhile.”
The first-grader choked on a sandwich last Wednesday at PS 250 in Williamsburg, the Post reported, claiming that her parents suspect she may have tried to finish too quickly, as she had complained about being rushed by teachers previously.
“Why, why couldn’t the school help her?” asked Echavarria’s mother, Ana Santiago, in a related Daily News report. “It’s the school’s fault.”
Echavarria remains on life support at NYU Langone Medical Center, family lawyer David Perecman said to the Post. “My concern is how the school responded,” he was quoted in the report. “They need to have an honest investigation, not a cover-your-back investigation.”
PS 250 Principal RoseAnn LaCioppa sent out a letter to parents reassuring them that the staff is trained to deal with emergencies, the Post reported.
“Let me also assure you that all procedures were followed that day,” her letter was quoted in the Post. “Providing a safe learning environment for our students and staff is very important to us.”
Education Department spokeswoman Devora Kaye said education officials are monitoring the circumstances surrounding Noelia’s choking, according to the Daily News. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Noelia and her family. … We believe the principal and faculty responded swiftly to the emergency, notifying 911 and the student's family immediately,” she was quoted.