Aunt administers CPR to nephew on expressway - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Aunt administers CPR to nephew on expressway

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Pamela Rauseo giving CPR to her 5-month-old nephew on the 836. Pamela Rauseo giving CPR to her 5-month-old nephew on the 836.
A family picture of baby Sebastian after the ordeal. A family picture of baby Sebastian after the ordeal.
Baby Sebastian being held by Fire Rescue. Baby Sebastian being held by Fire Rescue.

MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida woman had the scare of her life after her baby nephew stopped breathing, and she was forced to perform CPR on the 836 Expressway.

The pictures are dramatic: an aunt kneeling on the side of the 836 Expressway giving her 5-month-old nephew, Sebastian de la Cruz, CPR as a group of Good Samaritans come to help her, Thursday afternoon.

"I was like, 'Seba, hello,' and nothing," said Pamela Rauseo on the phone, recalling her response to her nephew. "I was like, 'Wait a minute, this is not right,' so I pulled over, and I hopped to the back. I didn't think to get out of my car and open the back door. I kind of like hopped. When I saw him and I touched him, he was unresponsive. I immediately got him out and jumped back to the front, and I realized he was completely limp and not breathing, and that's when I got out."

Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz, who captured the incident, said he was driving behind Rauseo. "I was traveling west on the 836, just east of 57th Avenue, and an SUV stopped in front of me, and I didn't think anything of it, but I stated hearing screams, and I couldn't tell where the screams were coming from. I look at my phone, I look at my radio and look up again and a woman pops out of her car holding a baby screaming, 'Help me! Help me! my baby is not breathing,'" said Diaz.

A female motorist, a Sweetwater Police officer and two members of a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Hazmat unit immediately stopped to help Rauseo and the baby. "We tried to start working as a team," said Lucila Godoy, "and that's how I want to see it, and we started doing CPR to the baby, and the police officers helped us with the chest compressions, and the baby finally started breathing."

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Anthony Trim was one of the firefighters who came to the baby's aid. "What put me at ease is that he was making some noise, and he was crying a little bit. I could tell he was breathing."

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Alvaro Toñanez also pulled over to assist the family. "My thoughts initially was, OK, I have no oxygen, let me go ahead and blow some breaths around his face to oxygenate like that, and always thinking, you know, Little guy, don't go out on me because we didn't have the equipment," Toñanez said.

Toñanez also said Rauseo's quick response was key to the baby's survival. "Nothing short of heroic," he said of Rauseo. "From what she relayed to us, the baby was in some type of respiratory arrest, and her actions were nothing short of life-saving."

"We just concerned ourselves with maintaining the airway, maintaining whatever vital signs were restored," Trim said.

Sebastian began breathing, then stopped but began breathing again. "She popped out of that car. As a driver, that moment is frozen on my mind, and screaming for help, and it was fortunate that when I went looking for help, help was right there," said Diaz.

Rauseo said, "I was just thinking about my sister, like, 'I can't, I can't let this happen, I can't, I can't. She trusted me with her baby, and I can't let this baby die on me.'"

Sebastian was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. An uncle of the infant said he is doing much better, although he was listed in critical but stable condition.

The family released a picture of the baby with smiling family members at the hospital, at around 6: 30 p.m. They said he recently had some congestion, and they think the baby has breathing problems because he was born premature.

Rauseo said she last administered CPR seven years ago.


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