Emergency centre saves little boy’s life on opening day

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PHOTO: Stefan Els, who’s life was saved at Netcare Cuyler Hospital after a near-death choking incident.
PHOTO: Stefan Els, who’s life was saved at Netcare Cuyler Hospital after a near-death choking incident.

The life of a two-year-old boy was saved after he’d been rushed to a newly opened emergency centre in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape after choking on a piece of chicken.

Patricia Claassen, little Stefan Els’ grandmother, rushed her grandson to the Netcare Cuyler Hospital’s newly opened 24-hour emergency centre.

The emergency centre had been established to provide the communities of Uitenhage and Despatch with much-needed emergency facilities.

The centre had opened its doors that very morning and doctors had been treating minor injuries and abrasions all morning when a panic-stricken Patricia arrived with her grandson’s lifeless little body in her arms. It was to be the centre’s first real emergency.

“When his grandmother brought him in, Stefan had no heartbeat or pulse and his pupils were dilated,” says Dr Marné Page, principal clinical manager of the emergency centre. “Technically, he was clinically dead.”

Dr Page and his team successfully removed the obstruction from the boy’s throat and performed CPR.

Dr Nelson Alves, chief operation officer of the practice, was also present and helped revive the two-year-old boy.

“After about five minutes of CPR, Stefan began gasping for breath and his eyes began reacting normally to light and movement,” Dr Alves says. “After he was stabilised Stefan was moved to the paediatric intensive care unit for further monitoring and treatment.”

Stefan's mother, Andriette Els, was on her way back from work when her mom, Patricia, phoned her and told her to come to the hospital immediately.  

“You can’t possibly describe the feeling,” Andriette says. “Losing a child is any parent’s worst fear.

“If it weren’t for the doctors at Netcare Cuyler Hospital’s emergency department and the efficiency and speed they employed to assist my little boy, I don’t think he would be here today,” she says.

She’s also extremely grateful to Stefan’s grandparents for getting him to the hospital so fast.

It looks like Stefan, who has since been released from the hospital, will make a complete recovery.

“He’s is recovering very well and there are no signs of any permanent damage,” Dr Page says. 

Sources: Netcare Cuyler Hospital

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