02:25 AM

Cari's quick action saves baby: Unanticipated rescue in the NICU

What started out as a normal day behind the desk for Intensive Care Nursery Unit Secretary Cari Schmidt quickly took a turn for the worst.

Clinical Services

Cari looked up from her desk to see a woman running toward her, a baby in her arms.

"Help my baby!" the woman yelled as she threw the child into Cari's arms. "My baby is choking!"

One-year-old Sabrina Raine was in the waiting room with her grandparents, Kaye and Wilbert Hostetler, when she suddenly began choking on a piece of candy.

Grandmother Kaye said she wasn't too concerned at first. "I thought it might just go down on its own," she said. "But as soon as I realized the candy wasn't going anywhere, I picked her up and went running."


Although Cari is not a nurse, she is a mother of two and said that eliminated any hesitancy to act.

"Everything happened so quickly," she said. "I just took off. I didn't even think twice."

Upon receiving the baby, Cari flipped her upside down and performed infant CPR by delivering forceful blows to her back while she ran for a nurse.

"I was running through the NICU yelling, ‘Help, help! Baby is choking!'" said Cari. "Just as I found a nurse, she coughed up the candy, right into the nurse's hand!"

Flooded with relief, Cari was happy to return Sabrina to her grandparents.

"I was really shaken up," said Kaye. "I couldn't calm down until Sabrina was back in my arms."

A new employee of the hospital, Cari says at first she worried she was out of line with the action she took.

"When the resource nurse came and asked who saved the baby, I was afraid to raise my hand," Cari laughed. "She congratulated me and said I did everything the hospital would have wanted any employee to do in the situation."

Janet Klein, RNC-NIC, NE-BC, BSN, Nursing Department Director of the NICU, further commended Cari's actions, saying, "The entire NICU is very proud of Cari. She did not hesitate or question what her responsibility was. She took immediate action and as a result, saved this child's life."

A happy ending to an unanticipated rescue, the Hostetler family says they are "very happy for the help."