Boy celebrates life after near drowning
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- A year ago, a South Florida boy was left fighting for his life, and now he's marking the one-year anniversary to honor his personal team of heroes.
A happy, healthy 5-year-old, Jiovani Hidalgo, returned to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood on Friday for a special expression of gratitude.
Last year, the little boy nearly died after falling into a swimming pool. Fortunately, a doctor was also at the pool with her children, was there. "He was completely blue, bluer than anyone I've seen in my medical training," said rescuer Dr. Stephanie White.
Fast forward one year, and we see a vibrant, busy little boy. "I really didn't expect him to walk and talk and playing like a normal 5-year-old," said Dr. White.
"The angels helped me breathe," said Jiovani.
The paramedics who were also called to the scene had just reviewed procedures for near drowning that morning. They too are amazed at the little boy's progress. "I saw him as soon as two days after, and I couldn't believe how well he was doing in just a span of two days," said Firefighter Paramedic Maribel Medina.
"It fills me with joy to know everything worked out, and he's doing great," said Firefighter Paramedic Moises Ramos
With time and training on their side, the paramedics got Jiovani to the hospital where doctors took over. "If you didn't know Jiovani or didn't know that anything has happen to him a year ago, now you see him running around and playing just like any other child," said pediatric ICU Dr. Eric Exelbert.
His mother has been with him every step of the way. "No parent wants to hold death in their arms even for a minute. To think you're not going to get your child back," said Alethea Montante, "and it was a very hard day, and the images will never leave my mind."
Jiovani's mother said she is writing a book and dedicating it to the hospital. "Those were angels watching above that day," said Montante.
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