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'It was a relief': Bibb County deputy explains rescue after saving choking newborn

Sgt. Reginald Washington says "time was of the essence" to respond and save the 5-week-old baby

MACON, Ga. — On Wednesday, a Bibb County deputy saved a choking newborn. 

Body camera video shows Bibb County's quick response, and many are calling the man who saved the child a hero. 

Wednesday morning, Sgt. Reginald Washington got a call he’ll never forget.

"I was sitting in my office. We received a call, of what we call a 'signal 51,' which is a person down, but in this case, it was more of a sense of urgency because it was an unresponsive infant," Washington said. "I knew time was of the essence."

Within a minute of him getting the call, Washington says he was on the scene. The bodycam video captured the rescue from start to finish.

"The mother actually flagged me down at the front of the driveway," Washington said, talking about how it all unfolded.

When he got in the house, he says he saw a 5-week-old girl choking.

"I could clearly see from a distance that she was limp. Her tongue was sticking out of her mouth, and there was a white, chalky substance out of her mouth," Washington said. 

According to the sheriff's office, the newborn was choking on formula mix. 

"Is she breathing?" Washington asked on the bodycam video. The woman Washington identified as the grandmother said, "I don’t know. I don't know. White stuff is coming out of her [mouth]," she said. 

Washington says during that tense moment, his training jumped in immediately.

"I turned her over just like we were taught in training. I immediately gave her those two to three thrusts in the back with the palm of my hand. After the first or second thrust, she started crying. I followed through with one more to make sure we cleared the passageway," Washington said.

Washington radioed in saying, "I got her breathing again," in the bodycam video. 

Washington says he and the family bundled her up in a blanket so she wouldn’t go into shock.

The baby was taken to the Atrium Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital for treatment. 

In response to the news, many praised Washington's actions on social media. 

"I think it’s who I represent. When you look at me, what you don’t see is the thin blue line behind me -- all the privates I work with, all the other sergeants and supervisors, all the way up to the sheriff, in terms of getting out here and doing our job, not just here, but other places," Washington said. 

The baby’s mother, Alexis Freeman, says she didn’t want to talk on camera. However, she did want to thank Sgt. Washington for saving her baby. She says her daughter is out of the hospital and doing better. 

    

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