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Firefighter Saves Baby's Life on Airplane

Story By Ex-Captain Steve Grogan; Photos by George McClosky


A Lynbrook firefighter on a flight to El Salvador saved a baby's life when the baby stopped breathing on January 9, 2014.  Firefighter Michael Kenny of Engine Company 1 on Carpenter Avenue was on an American Airlines flight to El Salvador with his family to attend the wedding of his nephew.  On board with Kenny was his wife Lisa, their two sons and a daughter, along with Kenny's mother and father.  

About 15 minutes before landing and after the announcement that the plane was beginning it initial descent into the El Salvador airport a woman six rows behind Kenny yelled out in Spanish, "My baby is dead." 

Kenny who speaks and understands Spanish quickly unbuckled his seat belt and ran down the aisle  to her aid.   He found the mother's baby girl, who had been sleeping on the seat next to her, had a seizure, had choked on her own vomit and stopped breathing, and had turned completely blue.  As Kenny began to work to try and clear the baby's clogged airway he was joined by two flight attendants who offered their assistance.   

With Kenny unable to clear the baby's airway which was still totally blocked, he then took an oxygen mask and plastic tubing from an attendant to make a suction device. The home-made device after a few tries finally cleared the baby's throat enough that Kenny could then perform CPR to get her to breathe. 

While Kenny was performing CPR, the co-pilot came to the back of the plane and asked Kenny what he needed.  Kenny told him to declare a landing emergency and get the plane on the runway as fast as possible.  Just before touching down the baby started to breathe but was still unconscious.  He then asked the attendants to get some ice which Kenny then put on the baby's inner thigh and under her armpit.  The baby's eyes suddenly opened. 

Kenny who had asked the mother in Spanish what was her baby's name was told that her name was "Paola."  That is the same name of the bride his nephew was marrying.  

When the plane landed an emergency medical team was waiting and quickly boarded the plane and took the baby and transported her to the hospital where she was admitted.   She stayed at the hospital overnight but was released after doctors found the baby was healthy and had suffered no ill-effects from the seizure. 

A few days after returning to Lynbrook, Kenny received a grateful phone call from a corporate doctor with American Airlines.  The doctor told Kenny that without his firefighter training and quick actions and initiative that day the baby surely would have died.  Lynbrook firefighter Michael Kenny had saved the baby's live. American Airlines also sent Kenny a voucher for a future flight.

Lynbrook Fire Chief Edward Hynes was on hand at the Lynbrook Village Board meeting on March 17th, 2014 when Kenny, joined by his wife Lisa, and son Tyler, was honored with a Citation from Lynbrook Mayor William Hendrick and the village board.


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02/19/17 17:39

Copyright © 2014 Lynbrook Fire Department. All rights reserved.
Revised: 19 Feb 2017 17:39:29 -0500 .



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