Baby saved after choking on jelly in northern Vietnam

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A 14-month-old child who almost died after choking on jelly is recovering after being saved by doctors in Hanoi.

Luong Huu Nghia from the northern province of Bac Giang will be discharged soon after spending more than two weeks at Bach Mai Hospital, doctors said Wednesday.

Dr Nguyen Tien Dung, head of the hospital's pediatrics ward, was quoted as saying by news website Dan Tri that it was "lucky" the jelly pieces were small and did not completely block Nghia's airway.

In most cases, due to its soft texture, jelly changes shape and tightly blocks the air passage, killing patients, he added.

It is even "luckier" that Nghia does not suffer from brain damage despite not breathing for a long period, he said.

The boy's mother, Pham Thi Huyen, said around noon on October 4 a child in their neighborhood gave Nghia a jelly and they shared it.

Soon after he started eating, Nghia coughed, quickly turned blue and stopped breathing, she said. 

They rushed him to the Bac Giang Province General Hospital where doctors tried to remove the jelly with a suction pipe.

But since his condition did not improve and he lost consciousness, he was transferred to the Hanoi-based National Otorhinolaryngology Hospital.

Doctors there too tried to take out the jelly, but in the end they gave up because his condition was almost unchanged.

Nghia later was transferred to Bach Mai Hospital. By that time it was around seven hours since he had choked.

Dr Dung said when Nghia was admitted he was unconscious, his body was blue, his heart was not beating, and his blood oxygen level was 30-40 percent compared to the normal 92-95 percent.


Vietnam baby dies after choking at unlicensed nursery

Doctors thought he would not survive, but his heart resumed beating and his body turned red within 15 minutes, thanks to emergency care, he said, adding that they had given him oxygen while extracting the jelly pieces.

It took them nearly two days to remove all the pieces that were stuck in his air passage, he added.

Speaking to Dan Tri, Dr Hoang Dinh Ngoc, deputy director of the National Otorhinolaryngology Hospitals said parents have to be careful when giving babies jelly, given the high risk of choking and high fatality rates.

Cutting a jelly into small pieces and feeding the child with a spoon is advisable, he said.

But the safest way is to not feed kids jelly because it is useless in terms of health, he added.

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