Knowledge could be the difference between life and death. Drastic thought? Not in Mineola resident Nicholas Ramos’ case.
The 9-year-old Jackson Avenue School student used every bit of his knowledge when he saved fellow student Steven Jones from choking to death on Friday, Jan. 25. According to Steven’s mother Laurain, he took a bite of a carrot and shortly after, Steven’s lips turned blue and he couldn’t breath.
Jones, 9, immediately started grabbing at his throat, the universal choking sign, before Ramos sprang into action. As Jones struggled with the carrot, Ramos raced around the lunchroom table and began hitting Jones in his lower back, dislodging the carrot in the process.
Oddly enough, it was Ramos’ carrot Jones began choking on. Ramos, who’s not fond of vegetable, handed them over to Jones during lunch. After that, Ramos didn’t have time to think, only react.
“He choked so I banged him on the back,” said Ramos after school on Feb. 12. “He did the choking signal.”
Ramos, a junior Webelo Cub Scout in Pack 246, credited his training in emergency situations he received from the Pack and his den leader and mother…Linda Ramos.
Nicholas said this experience could prepare him for other challenges in life and noted Steve, his friend of three years, learned from the experience too.
Fourth-and fifth-graders usually study the Heimlich maneuver, something Ramos hasn’t learned yet, late in the year. According to Linda, easy-to-learn first aid techniques are taught appropriate to their age.
“I still think at his age, I don’t know if he realized what could have been if he didn’t do that,” she said. “It was a team effort. If Steven didn’t know what to do to indicate he was in distress, Nicholas wouldn’t have reacted.”
The busy school district parent was proud to hear of her son’s feat, but didn’t learn it from Nicholas. Laurain told her the next day.
“He didn’t say anything about it,” said Linda. “Nicholas and Steven play hockey together. So they were playing on the weekend and Laurain walked over to me and she hugged me and said ‘I can’t thank you enough’ and I said ‘for what?’ That’s how I found out about it.”
Jones couldn’t have been more grateful for his friend’s awareness.
“I was kind of scared when the carrot got stuck, but when it came out I was relieved and I was proud of Nicholas for what he did,” Jones said.
The Jones did not rest on their laurels either when it comes first aid knowledge. Steve Sr., an emergency medical technician, and Laurain, a Girl Scout leader for Pack 1087, taught young Steven a few things, especially the choking sign. Safety talk in her household is par for the course.
“General first-aid, call 911, it’s just common; talked about in the house, like the universal choke sign” she said. “Thank God in that situation Nicholas knew what [the sign] meant. My son is alive because a brave, fast-thinking 9-year-old.”
Steve Sr. is a volunteer EMT in East Williston and previously worked for the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corp. He said he knows this situation all too well in his line of work.
“I’ve seen that before,” he said. “I know when the lips turn blue, that’s due to lack of oxygen. Something simple like [patting the back] can make all the difference.”