A 10-year-old girl went into cardiac arrest Wednesday afternoon on the front lawn of her Mastic home after choking on tortilla chips, police said, but was saved through the efforts of a passing stranger and responding police officers.
The child, Alana Kiceina, was first taken by ambulance to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, and then transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where she was reported in stable condition Wednesday night and breathing on her own, police said.
The first Suffolk police officer on the scene, 17-year-veteran David Frabizio, said cardiopulmonary resuscitation and a portable defibrillator were used to revive her. It wasn't the first time he'd been in that position, Frabizio said.
"But it hasn't always worked," he said. "One time on a child, a 5-year-old, but that was bad. The child passed away."
Frabizio said he was on duty in his sector car at about 4:40 p.m. just three or four blocks away when he heard the 911 call on Abbott Avenue. He raced to the scene.
When he arrived, Shawn Mitchell, 35, of Ridge, was trying to revive Alana with CPR. Officials said Mitchell's quick action contributed to saving the girl's life.
Mitchell, an unemployed construction worker, said he had stopped his truck on Abbott when he saw some tree cutters working, to ask whether he could have some logs. Moments later, he saw Alana's mother. "She was standing on the front lawn . . . shaking her daughters arm," he said. " . . . and there was no response."
He said he was taught CPR in the Army about 15 years ago but never had to use it. "That was a long time ago," Mitchell said. "But out of all the adults there, nobody knew CPR.. . . I couldn't sit there and watch."