Deputy Saves Child Choking on Pacifier

CALLWAY, Fla. - A young child is alive and well after a dangerous encounter with an item, many parents rely on.
And it's all thanks to a bay county deputy, who is first on scene to help. 

The uniform is still pretty fresh for Bay County Deputy Markevis Mathis. He's been on patrol for a little more than a year after recently deciding on a career change.

"After my first ride along, I fell in love with it," said Mathis. "I knew it was something I wanted to do and retire from."

The former roofer now spends his days looking out for his community. Recently, his training was put to the test when he was dispatched to a life-threatening medical call in Callaway.

"The mother comes out with the baby and the baby has blood all over its face," said Mathis.

The one-year-old child was choking on her pacifier and couldn't breathe. Her mother is frantic and afraid.

"She was hysterical, she was scared, she was crying," said Mathis. "She was the whole time, 'please save my baby, please save my baby.'"

A parent himself, Mathis understood her distress. "The whole time I'm going over there, my mind is racing on what could possibly happen. What should I do in this situation? I just took it as it came," said Mathis.
Mathis said his mind turned to auto pilot mode and he started to do what he could to get her breathing again. 

"I grabbed a hold of her, turned her around with her face down, cradled her with my left arm, and started doing back strikes to dislodge the pacifier."

Mathis spent the next minute, repeatedly striking her on the back, before finally freeing her airway just a little. 

"I was able to beat it [pacifier] enough to where it went down enough to give her airway, {and} for EMS to take her to the hospital and get her treated."

After the child was brought to the hospital, Mathis later stopped by to check on her. 

"I didn't want to just leave the call, and just go and do the report," said Mathis. "I definitely wanted to make sure the baby was OK." It's there he learned doctors had to remove the pacifier from her throat with tongs.

He has since reunited with the little girl and her grateful family twice. He even dropped by some toys. The family is thankful but Mathis said he was just doing what he was trained to do.

"I just thank my training personnel and the Sheriffs Office for preparing me for something like that when it came about. People call me a hero, I just consider it part of the job."

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