Montclair Police Officer Kevin Ortiz, at left, poses with Lynette Rente, Jorkell Echavarria and their baby, Diego, a week after police rushed in to help the baby in distress. Diego was just six days old when his airway became obstructed and the family called 911. (COURTESY MONTCLAIR POLICE DEPARTMENT)

By DIEGO JESUS BARTESAGHI MENA
bartesaghi@montclairlocal.news

Members of a Montclair family say they’re deeply grateful for the quick action of township police when their six-day-old baby stopped breathing earlier this year.

Officers Kevin Ortiz, Matthew Dobrowolski and Sean Verbist arrived minutes after an Oct. 14 911 call, police said in an account of the incident released on Dec. 8.

Ortiz took hold of the infant, named Diego, and determined that his airway was obstructed, police said. Ortiz flipped Diego over and began giving him back blows.

After 10 to 15 back blows, Diego vomited the obstruction and began crying, police said. Verbist helped Ortiz by setting up oxygen and providing it to the infant, while Ortiz continued to hold him and keep him alert, police said.

Diego’s mother, Lynette Rente, told the officers she had been breast-feeding her son when he began to choke on the milk and stopped breathing, according to the description by Montclair police. Diego turned a dark color, which is when Rente called 911, it said.

After the emergency care, Diego’s coloring began to return to normal, police said.

Ortiz’s “quick efforts relieved Diego’s distress and our anxiety when we finally heard Diego’s loud cries,” police quoted Rente and Diego’s father, Jorkell Echeverria, saying in their account.  “Officer Ortiz even followed up the next week with a teddy bear in hand to check in on Diego and our family. Thankfully this was a one-time incident, Diego is now growing big and strong.”

The account also included a statement from Chief of Police Todd M. Conforti and Deputy of Police Wilhelm Young, saying they “could not be more proud of the work done by our officers every day.”

“‘Thanks’ is never asked for or even expected. We have a job to do for the people of Montclair. We will always strive to be our best. We appreciate this beautiful family reaching out as these officers did a great thing that evening. We are blessed to be able to do what we do,” it quoted Conforti and Young saying.

Police also quoted the parents saying that “‘thank you’ does not seem sufficient to express our gratitude” for the help from the officers and other emergency personnel.

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