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Chicken-choke Hitchin toddler reunited with life-savers

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Essex and Herts Air Ambulance

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Charlotte Smith met Dr Asher Lewinsohn, who helped to save her life

A toddler who choked on a piece of chicken has been reunited with the medical staff who saved her life.

Charlotte Smith, two, was taken ill during lunch while at nursery in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, on 25 July.

A doctor on board the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance managed to put a tube down her throat, clear the blockage and allow her to breathe.

Her father Richard Smith said: “The air ambulance saved her life. We wanted to give them a big thank you.”

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Richard Smith

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The two-year-old was taken ill during lunch while at nursery

Mr Smith said nursery staff performed CPR at the scene.

By the time he and her mother arrived, Charlotte was on her way by land ambulance to meet the air ambulance in Pinehill Park.

She was treated there by on-board doctor Asher Lewinsohn and critical care paramedic, Jakob Humphrey, before being taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where she was put on a ventilator for 36 hours.

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Richard Smith

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Charlotte has made a full recovery

Dr Lewinsohn said: “It was obvious that her heart was about to stop if we didn’t act fast.

“With options running out, and Charlotte becoming sicker and sicker, the team opted to attempt to forcefully ventilate her at higher than normal pressures and with this technique they managed to get oxygen into her lungs.”

Mr Smith said: “We were told [by the hospital] to brace ourselves for potential neurological problems when they woke her up but amazingly she was fine… she just had a bit of a croaky throat.

“When she woke up I handed her her blanket that was from her grandma and she said ‘blanket’.

“I knew then that she’d be OK.”

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Essex and Herts Air Ambulance

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Richard Smith said they visited the team to thank them and find out more about what happened

Dr Lewinsohn said the team was “thrilled” she had “returned to being the bubbly little girl that she was before”.

Mr Smith said they visited the team to thank them, find out more about what happened and speak to them about how he can help through fundraising.

“You don’t realise how quickly life can change over something so small,” he said.

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