We’ve read so many sad stories in the news that many people have become immune to the heartache that people suffer as a consequence. But this story is an emotionally uplifting one with a happy ending that all can empathize with, and cheer, as life goes on.
On Tuesday, April 19, Joseph M. Tierney Center site coordinator, Milagros “Mille” Pena, was outside the front door of the center talking with a parent. Across the street near the side of an Old Colony Development building, Mille noticed a woman holding a toddler. But something in Mille’s gut told her something was wrong with the picture. She continued talking with the parent, went back inside the center to get paperwork and walked back outside again. Mille noticed the woman across the street again, shaking the baby back and forth. Realizing something was definitely wrong, she walked over to woman.
When Mille arrived the woman – who it turned out was the toddler’s grandmother – was frantic but couldn’t speak English. The woman grabbed Mille’s arm. Mille turned the baby around and saw a blue face, blue nails, and eyes rolled back. Mille took the baby and started doing CPR. She did CPR with the toddler on her knee and then on the ground, but decided to rush the toddler into the center.
Mille noticed her co-worker, Perla Castaneda at the door. Mille told her to call 911. She then placed the baby on the floor and started CPR once again. When Perla came back she starting doing CPR. Mille left, got the defibrillator, and came back. As Perla was continuing with the CPR the toddler started breathing again and his eyes rolled back. Perla placed him on his side to prevent him from possibly choking. The grandmother, Perla, and Mille were now crying with relief that the baby was alive. He was safe.
Soon afterwards, members of the Boston Police Department, Boston Fire Department and Boston EMS arrived on scene, but the “miracle” had already occurred. The toddler and grandma were subsequently transported to Tufts Medical Center by Boston EMS. Luckily, under the initiative of Kristin Taylor, the executive director of the center, all employees had previously undergone CPR training conducted by Longwood Security.
Mille was shaken by this heart-wrenching ordeal but overjoyed it ended on a celebratory note.
“I was crying and shaking,” she said. “One of the Boston Police Officers asked me what I was crying about since we just saved a life. So the officers gave me a group hug to make me feel better.
“Before this happened I thought I’d be going through the red door,” she stated, jokingly. “But now I’m definitely going through the white door straight to Heaven.”
Perla was also impacted emotionally by this experience.
“I never conducted CPR before on a real person,” she said. “I was on my knees asking God how we were going to do this CPR and save this baby…and we did. To me it was a miracle I’ll never forget.”
Last Monday, April 25, the grandmother stopped by the Tierney Center with her grandchild. In broken English, she thanked Mille and Perla several times, told them they were good people, smiled, and then hugged them. Tears flowed.
Mille said they were at the right place at the right time and made sure they did all that they could do to help save the baby. And we’re so glad they did.