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Fast-Acting Montclair Officer Saves Choking, Breastfeeding Newborn

Montclair Officer Ortiz with baby Diego and his parents, Jorkell Echeverria and Lynette Rente.
Montclair Officer Ortiz with baby Diego and his parents, Jorkell Echeverria and Lynette Rente. Photo Credit: Montclair Police Department

A fast-acting Montclair police officer is being hailed as a hero for saving a choking newborn.

Officers Kevin Ortiz, Matthew Dobrowolski, and Sean Verbist arrived at the Nushuane Road home within minutes of the 911 call being placed around 9:45 p.m. Oct. 14, Lt. Terence Turner said.

Ortiz took hold of baby Diego from his frantic parents, Jorkell Echeverria and Lynette Rente, and noticed that his airway was blocked. 

The officer flipped Diego over and began performing back blows. After approximately 10 to 15 blows, Diego vomited the obstruction and began crying. 

Verbist arrived on scene and helped by setting up and providing oxygen to Diego while Ortiz continued to hold Diego and keep him alert. Over time, Diego began to return to a natural coloring.

Rente told police that she was breast-feeding Diego when he began to choke on the milk and stopped breathing. Diego then began to turn a dark color, which is when 9-1-1 was called and officers responded. The ambulance unit soon arrived and the infant was transported to the hospital for precautionary measures.

The officers on scene reacted according to their training, Turner said: With compassion and professionalism.

Ortiz followed up the next week with a teddy bear in hand, checking in on Diego and the family.

"'Thank you' does not seem sufficient to express our gratitude for the assistance of Officers Ortiz, Verbist, Dobrowolski and the emergency personnel that quickly arrived," the baby's parents said.

"Our family is eternally grateful for the assistance of Officer Ortiz, the Montclair Police, and fellow emergency personnel.”

“We could not be more proud of the work done by our officers every day. ‘Thanks’ is never asked for or even expected. We have a job to do for the people of Montclair," Police Chief Conforti and Deputy Chief Young said.

" We will always strive to be our best. We appreciate this beautiful family reaching out as these officers did a great thing that evening. We are blessed to be able to do what we do.”

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