Columbia, SC (WLTX) - There are some very happy and grateful parents in Columbia who credit some Richland County Sheriff's Deputies with saving their one-year-old's life.
It was a situation that any parent could go through: one-year- old Zion Green choked on some peanuts after his father told him he could not have any more. It's what happened after that, that has the family and those who helped them saying it took a team effort and God's hand to save the baby.
Like many children his age, Little Zion started crying when he was told 'no,' but he had already stuffed some peanuts in his mouth. "He started to choke and I yelled for Lemorriea," his father, Justin Green said.
Mom Lemorriea Myers has worked in child care for more than 10 years. She says she ran into the room and began the Heimlich maneuver. She says it was the first time she had ever had to use it on a child.
At that point, they attempted to get their baby to the emergency room, but their truck broke down. "I jumped out to flag down a deputy that was coming in the opposite direction," Justin said.
Corporal Kristin Boyles with the Richland County Sheriff's Department explains what happened next. "Friday afternoon I had one of my guys, he was getting flagged down at Decker and Faraway. I could tell in his voice he was a little distraught and said that it was an infant child that had stopped breathing."
Boyles had been an EMT for many years before joining the department, so when she got on scene, she took over. She says, "I used the seat and supported his head and gave him back blows to perform the Heimlich."
When she saw him, Zion was limp and losing his color. Then Senior Deputy Dennis Thomas took over. As it turns out, he had been a Columbia Firefighter before joining the department, as well as receiving training with the Sheriff's department. "You know you go through this training but you never think you are going to have to use it: " he said.
To make matters worse, the emergency didn't happen at the most convenient time to be on the roads when you're trying to get someplace fast. "The incident happened in the middle of the street," Thomas said. "There were a lot of people around, not to mention, five o'clock traffic. Whew traffic was backed up."
Justin says he was beside himself and is grateful for Lemorriea and Deputy Douglas Rooks, who was also there, for keeping him and their other two children calm. He says, "They were praying, 'Lord please save our baby brother." as everyone worked on Zion."
Boyles says, "I looked up and I saw the ambulance coming through and at that time I said, 'Give him to me. We're going.' And I kept doing compressions as I ran towards the ambulance and literally opened up the back and put him in. We began working on him all the way to the hospital. There was a whole lot of praying going on in the back of that ambulance."
From the first deputy who stopped when Green frantically flagged him down, to the ones directing traffic and those who worked on baby Zion, as well as the EMS and firefighters, it took a team effort to save the baby's life.
Zion's parents tell us they couldn't believe how everything happened and came into place; from mom performing the Heimlich at home, rushing the baby to the hospital only to have the truck break down, to flagging down the officer who was going by at that moment. Lemorriea Myers says the people who worked on and saved her baby, treated him as if he was their own and she and her family are forever grateful. She says, "God is with us. I mean favor is upon us. I couldn't be more grateful, thankful, for everybody who played a part in it. Everybody had a major part."
Boyles says, "You know, we're not in charge all the time. Everything turns out like it's supposed to for a reason. I told Zion's mom the other day, I said, 'You know there is a reason he is here. We don't know what it is yet. He doesn't know what it is yet. But I got a feeling its going to be something big."
Myers tells News 19 that if things are still going well, doctors plan to take the breathing tube out Tuesday morning and move Zion out of PICU and onto a floor where he will start therapy. The family's church has set up a fund to help with hospital bills. If you would like to donate, just go to BB&T and ask for the Baby Zion Fund.
If you are interested in learning baby CPR including the Heimlich maneuver for children, just contact the American Red Cross. You could save a life.