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Man Dusts Off CPR Skills To Revive Baby
He saved a swimmer 20 years ago. The 8-month-old boy is in critical
By Henry Pierson Curtis | Sentinel Staff Writer
March 2, 2005
For the second time in 20 years, Roque "Rocky" Gomez heard screams from people who didn't know what to do in an emergency.
It was 7:18 p.m. Monday and a baby hung lifeless in a woman's arms outside Colonial Ridge Apartments on West Colonial Drive.
"The lady said he was dead and handed him to me," said Gomez, 41. "Blue. Blue, cold, straight up like ice."
As soon as he touched Luis Moreno Jr.'s skin, he said, he started blowing into the 8-month-old baby's mouth and pressing on his chest.
All around him, tenants and bystanders were screaming, crying and praying. The same thing had happened 20 years ago.
Back then, Gomez said, he resuscitated a swimmer who nearly drowned off Fajarado on the eastern tip of Puerto Rico. He kept doing CPR then -- until life returned, just as it did Tuesday.
"It was like four or five minutes before he started breathing," said Gomez, who took CPR training most recently about five years ago as part of First Responder training given to employees of the Orange County Convention Center. "Thank God, man, it worked."
Luis remained in critical condition Tuesday in the pediatric intensive-care unit at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The baby suffered a skull fracture and a brain injury when his mother, Judith Rangel, fell backward while cleaning her apartment and landed on his head, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
The case information has been forwarded to the state Department of Children & Families for investigation, but detectives think the injury came from an unfortunate accident, Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Solomons said.
The baby had crawled behind Rangel as she wiped her dining table. She stepped back and tripped over the baby and fell, reports state.
Rangel, who could not be reached Tuesday, picked up her baby, who had stopped breathing, and ran to her one Spanish-speaking neighbor, according to reports and interviews.
"She ran here because we're Hispanics," said the neighbor, who, like Rangel, does not speak English. "I took the baby and yelled to my husband to call 911."
The woman did not want to be identified to protect her privacy.
Two Spanish-speaking dispatchers were on duty at the sheriff's communications center, and the call was transferred to Fire Rescue.
In late January, a Spanish-speaking mother could not explain to English-speaking neighbors that her child, who later died, had choked on birdseed.