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Sheriffa Shyam in an inconsolable mood while speaking to members of the media yesterday.

Relatives of seven-year-old Shazard Mohammed who choked to death on a pholourie believes he would have survived had the ambulance responded swiftly. “They was too slow.

They move to slow for my child. The ambulance was too slow, to know right, there to right. They could have saved my child life,” lamented the child’s father Sheriff Mohammed.

Speaking at their Platanite Trace, Rochard Road, Penal home yesterday he complained that the ambulance took about an hour to arrive.

He said,“I had time to leave Corinth (Ste Madeleine) and reach down Siparia (health centre) and my child did not come yet. When I take up my child from the ambulance he was dead,”

Shazard’s mother Sheriffa Shyam tried her best to save his life. She was too distraught to speak to the media yesterday.

Shyam collected Shazard, a Standard One student, and his nine-year-old sister from their school, Clarke Rochard Government Primary, in Penal, just after 3 pm on Monday.

She bought pholourie for the children from a vendor whom they were accustom buying from just in front of the school.

Shyam’s mother Jennifer Shyam said, “She break it (pholourie) and give the child to eat. The child started to choke and she started to knock the child back and by knocking the child back it did not come out so she push her finger to take it out.” But, the child’s jaw locked. “She had to squeeze his mouth and get her finger out and a piece of pholourie (came) out,” said the grandmother.

With the assistance of other people, the mother tried to perform CPR on him.

The grandmother said his lips began turning blue and froth began seeping from his nose. The grandmother said the ambulance took too long to arrive. “If they reach early the child could ah still be alive.” She said Shazard was healthy, had no allergies and was accustomed to eating pholourie.

Mohammed, a heavy equipment operator, said his son wanted to follow in his footstep and pursue a career as an operator and a driver.

“It real hard, it sorrowful, it sad. I don’t know which part to turn again to know that a brilliant child like that just leave and gone. A little piece of pholourie somebody could have saved the child life,” he said.

Still in disbelief over his son’s sudden passing, he said, “It eh natural boy because everybody was eating pholourie there.”

The grandmother said the doctors pronounced her grandson dead 13 minutes after the ambulance brought him to the health centre.

She described Shazard as a happy child who loved to dance. An autopsy performed at the San Fernando mortuary found that he did die from asphyxiation due to upper airway obstruction. It also confirmed that the mother was able to extract the pholourie from his airway.

Funeral arrangements were still being decided on yesterday.

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What is the Heimlich maneuver?

Each year, many people die from choking on objects that obstruct their airways and cause suffocation. Choking is in fact the fourth leading cause of unintentional death. However, there is a simple technique you can use to help expel a trapped object from another person’s airway. You can even use a version of this technique on yourself.

The technique is called the Heimlich maneuver, or abdominal thrusts

First, if there’s a bystander, have them call 911 (or your local emergency phone number) for emergency help. If you’re the only person present, begin first aid treatment:

1. Get the person to stand up.

2. Position yourself behind the person.

3. Lean the person forward and give five blows to their back with the heel of your hand.

4. Place your arms around their waist.

5. Make a fist and place it just above the navel, thumb side in.

6. Grab the fist with your other hand and push it inward and upward at the same time. Perform five of these abdominal thrusts.

7. Repeat until the object is expelled and the person can breathe or cough on their own.