Off-duty police couple save life of choking four-year-old with food jammed in throat

Two married off-duty police officers on a seaside break saved the life of a young boy who had become lifeless and floppy after getting food jammed in his throat.

The West Midlands Police officers saved the life of Dexter, who was choking on a chicken nugget (Image by West Midlands Police)
The West Midlands Police officers saved the life of Dexter, who was choking on a chicken nugget (Image by West Midlands Police)

The couple, a detention escort officer at Oldbury and an emergency response officer based at Bournville, came to the rescue of four-year-old Dexter, at a beachside restaurant in Barmouth.

Using their first aid training, they took control, and managed to dislodge a chicken nugget from his airway.

The husband, Detention Escort Officer Vincent, and wife, Pc Vincent, who have asked not to be identified further but who have both been with West Midlands Police for more than 10 years, were walking past the restaurant earlier this summer when they spotted Dexter choking.

DEO Vincent said: "His dad was, quite understandably, in panic mode and didn't know what to do.

"So I stepped in and took hold of Dexter, and slapped him on the back a couple of times, but I realise now it was not hard enough."

His wife then tried five times, but DEO Vincent said Dexter was starting to lose consciousness and going limp in his arms.

DEO Vincent said: "I did six chest thrusts and finally the chicken nugget came out on the sixth one.

"The lad started to come back round quite quickly after that and my wife put him on her knee and comforted him.

"We'd learned what to do thanks to the training we've had, throughout my 13 years with WMP, and for my wife it's 14 years.

"But it's the first time I've had to use my first aid skills for anything as serious as this. It just goes to show that it really does work and we’re so pleased we were there and able to help."

Dexter’s dad John praised the officers their training and professionalism, proved truly vital in saving his son’s life.

He said: "I admit I didn't know what to do as I didn't know first aid - I was trying everything.

"But he was going blue and he was going limp and then suddenly they were there.

"They were both so super calm and so professional about it all.

"It was just awful, watching what was happening to Dexter but being powerless to do anything.

"But we won the lottery with these two passing by. Even though they were off duty they didn't hesitate to help and if they'd not been there I believe Dexter would have died."

Dexter was checked over by paramedics, and also by hospital staff, and is none the worse for his traumatic ordeal.

John has since written to Chief Constable Dave Thompson praising the pair for not only their life-saving actions, but their care and kindness, which he says he feels he'll never adequately be able to repay.

Superintendent Jack Hadley, said: "When I heard what these two officers had done I was truly humbled and see both of them as absolute heroes.

"It is wonderful to know that their first aid skills kicked in and they were both able to remain calm, remember their training, and do what was needed to save this young boy's life."

The couple's life-saving actions are currently being reviewed by their local rewards and recognition panel and they are set to be nominated for an appropriate award.

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