Published March 06, 2014
The family of a baby revived by a relative and stranger on a South Florida expressway are speaking out about what doctors determined was wrong with the 5-month-old.
Sebastian de la Cruz was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital on Feb. 20 after he stopped breathing in his aunt's car. "I don't stop thinking about it, thinking about how it could've turned out differently," Pamela Rauseo said.
Rauseo and de la Cruz were traveling on the 836 Expressway, just east of 57th Avenue, when Rauseo noticed her nephew was not breathing. She immediately performed CPR on the baby, on the side of the Dolphin Expressway as other drivers stopped to help.
The dramatic images were captured by Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz during the entire ordeal, right up to the moment de la Cruz began breathing again and was taken by paramedics to Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH). "I knew immediately I had to help," Diaz said.
More than a week after being rushed to JMH, de la Cruz went home.
"They found that he had multiple cysts in his trachea," Paola Vargas, de la Cruz's mother, said. "Basically, the doctor drew a thin line with his pen and he said that was what he was breathing through."
Vargas said her son has had respiratory issues since his premature birth but is making a remarkable recovery.
"Now I don't hear him," Vargas said. "Before he had this muffled breathing."
De la Cruz will require weekly doctor visits for the foreseeable future. The family set up a trust to help pay for medical bills. Doctors also warned there is a 50/50 chance the incident could happen again. "I just have to, I guess, put my faith in God because I don't know when or how fast this could happen," Vargas said.
That same faith is what saved the little boy's life, according to de la Cruz's family. "I really do believe, for whatever reason, I was the one that was meant to be with him," Rauseo said.
Rauseo, who was credited with breathing life back into her nephew, learned CPR seven years ago and plans on getting re-certified, something she said everyone should do to prepare for the unexpected.
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