Deputy Patricia Villa used to teach first aid classes for the American Red Cross.
Villa got to put those skills, along with her CCSO training, to use when she saved the life of an infant who was choking on a plastic object in May.
On May 12, Villa, a road patrol deputy who works out of the sheriff’s Golden Gate Estates substation, responded to a call of an 8-month-old boy who was choking at a residence in the 300 block of 4th St. Northeast in the middle of the afternoon.
When Villa arrived the boy’s mother was holding him. Villa took the child and noticed the area around his mouth was turning yellow and green. She looked inside his mouth and did not notice anything unusual.
She then turned the child over on his stomach with his face in a downward position onto her thigh over her knee and gave him a series of back blows. She turned him back over and checked him for breathing, but the child was still in distress and starting to turn blue.
Villa turned him over again and proceeded to give him another round of back blows.
“I said there was no way I was going to lose this child,” she recalled. “I just kept pounding.”
She heard him cough up something and start crying.
The child had a hard gold plastic star sticking out of his mouth, which Villa immediately removed.
“The child quickly calmed down after I gave him a big hug,” Villa said.
It was the first time she had ever saved somebody’s life, she said.
The 35-year-old Villa, who has been with CCSO just shy of six years, credited her first aid skills, along with her CCSO training, for her knowing what to do in this situation.
Her supervisors have nominated her for a CCSO Life Saving Award. The award recognizes deputies whose actions save someone from serious life-threatening injury or death.
“I feel like I already got my reward because the baby made it,” Villa said. “That’s what’s most important.”