Cop saves choking girl

Hamilton Police Const. Jennifer Lafleur. (Hamilton Police Service photo)

Hamilton Police Const. Jennifer Lafleur. (Hamilton Police Service photo)

Kevin Connor, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:46 PM ET

TORONTO -- A Hamilton, Ont., police officer was on hand to save the day when a girl was choking in a park on Wednesday.

Police received a call just before 2 p.m. that a girl was semi-conscious by the swings at Central Park in the city's core.

"I was working general patrol downtown when I heard the call and I just happened to be 30 seconds away," Const. Jennifer Lafleur, who generally works undercover, said Thursday.

"When I approached she was lying on the ground surrounded by other children and she had faint breathing. I realized what was happening right away."

Lafleur performed the Heimlich manoeuvre three times and the girl coughed up a piece of hard candy.

"Once it was dislodged, she was upset and in a state of shock. She was taken to hospital immediately by the EMS and she is all good," Lafleur said. "The family was there and they were very emotional."

The girl, 13-year-old Anna Santos, was released from hospital in good health shortly after.

Anna's sister, Tania Graca, says the family is so grateful to Lafleur.

"I hate to think what would have happened if Jennifer wasn't there. Anna could have died and she saved her life. No one else knew what to do," Graca said.

"I will never forget Jennifer. It was a happy ending."

Lafleur said she got into policing to help people, but this was the first time responding to such a call.

"I just relied on my instinct and training. This shows the importance for everyone to know first aid," Lafleur said.

When Lafleur responded to the park, she had a student in the Youth in Policing Initiative program with her on a ride-along.

"She (the student) saw first-hand what we can respond to in a routine patrol and how we can make a difference," Lafleur said.

"She was impressed by the whole thing and asked to go on another ride-along."

kevin.connor@sunmedia.ca

 


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