A grieving mother has revealed the last word her precious little girl said to her before she choked to death on her favorite snack.
Samantha Lennon stopped in for a quick buy after her daughter Imogen finished her swimming lesson in Canowindra, in mid-west New South Wales, on January 16.
Her five-year-old son’s favorite snack was a frankfurter cocktail and she gave her son the meal to eat on the way back to the family dairy farm.
Imogen had been chatting from the back seat before she suddenly fell silent and began to choke on her snack.
Mrs. Lennon recalled turning around in fear after her daughter called out to her with one word that would be her last.
Five-year-old Imogen (above) choked to death on a frankfurter cocktail in the regional town of Canowindra, New South Wales, on January 16.
“She said, ‘Mum,’ but it was the ‘Mum’ that sounded weirder than ever,” Mrs Lennon said. 7News.
“I look back and her lips are turning blue and I can see she’s choking.”
Mrs. Lennon is trained in first aid and did her best to help Imogen cough up the food, but her daughter couldn’t save herself.
The distraught mother later learned of a small tool that could have saved her daughter’s life and called for more awareness about the product.
The simple device is called the LifeVac, and it has saved 747 lives around the world, including 449 children.
It was introduced to Australia six years ago, although it is still largely unknown. Now, Mrs. Lennon aims to help change that to prevent other families from going through the tragedy the Lennons experienced.
LifeVac has a suction mask that fits over a person’s mouth with a small pump on top.
The person working to clear a blockage stuck in a patient’s throat grasps the handle at the top of the pump, pushes down and immediately releases it, bringing the blockage to the surface.
Mrs. Lennon said that half of the frankfurter Imogen was eating got stuck in her throat.
Ms Lennon “drove like hell” to Canowindra hospital immediately after attempting to resuscitate her daughter in the car.
There were no ambulances available and there was no doctor at the hospital.
Two nurses and a cleaner tried to help clear Imogen’s airway as her father, Bill, ran to her side.
Tragically, little Imogen could not be resurrected and died.
“I thought I was dreaming, it was a nightmare,” Lennon said.
LifeVac (above) is an airway clearance device that uses suction to remove obstructions from a patient’s throat
Imogen’s devastated parents, Bill and Sam Lennon (above), said they did everything they could to help Imogen before she tragically died in Canowindra hospital.
‘I was just saying, “Come back, come back, come back,” but as my friend told me, God would have asked me, “Do you want these beautiful wings?” And she would have said, “Oh, hell yeah,” said Mrs. Lennon.
The family home is filled with memories of Imogen: her drawings on the walls, her toys where she left them on the dining room table.
There’s even a pile of his clothes in the living room.
“Nothing prepares you for seeing something as simple as your name missing from your Medicare card,” Ms. Lennon said.
When Imogen’s ashes were brought home, the family didn’t know what to do with them at first, but then they knew where to put it.
“We have her sitting on her bed surrounded by all her toys, so it’s a safe space, it’s a loving space,” Ms Lennon said.
In another heartbreaking revelation, it turned out that Imogen had just been fitted with a hearing aid.
“The Monday before she died, she put in a hearing aid because she had some health problems… and she said, ‘Oh, Mom, that’s what my voice sounds like,'” Mrs Lennon said.
“So, for a whole week, he got to know what his voice actually sounded like.”
Ms. Lennon has now launched the group. Imogen’s Mission to help raise awareness about child suffocation and devices that can help in a crisis.
“If we can make people aware of LifeVacs and have them in cars, homes, schools and preschools and they can save a child’s life, Imogen would be very proud,” she said.
“We don’t want another family to have to go through what we’re going through because it’s the worst kind of pain you can ever feel.”
Former paramedic Simon Gould said standard first aid procedures aren’t always effective for large blockages and urged people to invest in LifeVac.
“Since we only have a small window of time, we can’t waste time and keep trying the same things over and over again and fail,” he said.
For more information on LifeVac, visit your website.
Former paramedic Simon Gould (right) said LifeVac helps remove large blockages that standard first aid cannot
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO SAVE A TRAPPED PERSON?
Time is of the essence when someone starts to drown. The average response time in Australia is between eight and 14 minutes.
- 4 – 6 minutes of lack of oxygen means brain damage is possible
- 6 – 10 minutes of lack of oxygen means brain damage is likely
- more than 10 minutes of lack of oxygen means the victim is likely to die
Many people around the world cannot receive conventional treatment for choking due to pregnancy, disability, age, or obesity.