Now a rambunctious and fun two-year-old, little Louie Pugh has no idea how close he came to choking to death only months ago.
Back in March of this year, his mum Amy was in the kitchen making dinner for the family, chopping raw carrots up to be cooked as part of dinner.
Her daughter Zoe decided to help herself to a snack of carrot and was kind enough to share with her younger brother.
“Louie was only 17 months at the time and like any toddler, he knew he wasn’t meant to have any of the carrot so took off straight away from the kitchen. As he ran, he kicked his toe and starting crying – and as he took a breath in, the chewed fragments of carrot became stuck in his throat.”
Within just moments, Louie was gasping for air, as he choked on the chunks of raw carrot.
“He had stopped breathing and was starting to turn blue. I was giving him back blows and some pieces came out but you could tell he had more down his throat. He started to breathe again but it was laboured and slow so we called an ambulance.”
The ambulance arrived and took him to Whangarei Hospital where the Northland Rescue Chopper was called to transport him to Auckland to have specialists remove the small pieces of carrot still lodged further down his airway.
Three days later Amy and Louie returned home – with Louie completely recovered from the ordeal.
“It was so scary. We live rurally so having the help of the ambulance and then the helicopter was just amazing,” she says.
“I have seen the rescue helicopter fly past a few times and you always wonder where they are going. I never thought it would be our family that needed it.”
And when she realised the service was free, she was relieved too.
“We have had to use an ambulance a few times before and always receive an invoice after, so after we had flown in the helicopter, I was thinking about how much it was going to cost when we got that invoice. When I learned it was a free service, I was so surprised. And the speed in how fast we got to Auckland was great too – barely 30 minutes it took. Just amazing!”
“It just shows, you never know when it will be you, or someone you know – definitely a cause to support.”