Mother of baby who swallowed pacifier grateful, hopeful

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published October 28, 2013

FARMINGTON HILLS — The perfect birthday present came Aug. 14 for Adrienne Herrick, who was able to hold her baby for the first time days after a pacifier became lodged in his throat.

“That was the best birthday present I could have asked for. Ever,” the 25-year-old Redford resident said. “To be able to hold my baby and know that he is going to be OK.”

At the time, 5-month-old Cameron Herrick, who swallowed a pacifier at a Livonia daycare Aug. 12, was rushed to Botsford Hospitals’ Emergency and Trauma Center. He was later taken to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.

What started out as a typical day for Adrienne — drop her son off at daycare, go to work — ended up with her and her family comforting each other in Botsford’s waiting room after Cameron’s daycare provider informed her that he had swallowed a pacifier while sitting on her lap hours earlier.

While he was chewing on the pacifier, he accidentally pushed it into his mouth, and when the woman attempted to take it out, he took a deep breath, which prevented her from reaching it, Adrienne  said.

“Instantly, I knew something had to be wrong,” Adrienne said of receiving a call on her cellphone and work line minutes after getting off from work that day.

She said she was told to go to Botsford, and the normally 25-minute drive took her about 15 minutes. But the five-hour wait in the waiting room felt longer.

“I felt like I was sitting there at least a year,” Adrienne said. “It was the most excruciating wait I’ve ever endured. It was horrible. For the longest amount of that wait, we didn’t even know if he was even going to survive.”

Adrienne said that while in the waiting room, her aunt spoke with the daycare provider after she went to the hospital, because Adrienne was not in the right frame of mind to talk to her herself.

“I was not quite ready to interact with her, nor was I going to leave the waiting room without knowing that my kid was OK,” she said.

She said the hospital staff had to get her son stable enough to take him to the operating room to try to take the pacifier out.

“That, in and of itself, took hours,” she said.

In a press release, Dr. Angel Chudler, who led the emergency room team to save Cameron’s life, said that was the scariest case in her 10 years of practicing.

Dr. Zachary Baselle, emergency medicine physician, shard his viewpoint.

He said in the release that Livonia paramedics were met at Botsford’s ambulance entrance by Chudler and emergency medicine resident Dr. Holly Hughes.

“The doctors performed lifesaving measures, trying to remove the pacifier from the baby’s airway,” Baselle said. “I did a needle cricothyrotomy (a procedure used to obtain an airway) on Cameron to allow him to receive oxygen around the pacifier obstructing his airway. Dr. Hughes … assisted me by holding Cameron’s trachea appropriately.”

After Cameron was moved to the operating room, Dr. Warren Brandes, an ear, nose and throat surgeon, assisted by ENT resident Dr. Andrea Spellman and Chudler, removed the pacifier bit by bit from Cameron’s throat.

Cameron was then taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital — the first place Adrienne was able to see him.

“When I first saw him, it was really hard, but when I saw that (the hospital staff) were taking such great care of him and he was stable and OK, for that time, I was able to kind of breathe,” Adrienne said, “and know that everybody that was with him … they were going to take care of him.”

Adrienne said that while her baby is now healthy and back to normal, the story isn’t over.

She has contacted lawyers to possibly file a lawsuit against the daycare provider for neglect.

The provider did not return calls by press time.

However, none of the five lawyers she contacted wanted to pick up the case, she said.

“None of them thought they would be able to take the case because there wasn’t any known long-term effects (with Cameron), and because we don’t have medical bills piling up,” she said.

She added that it is not about getting a paycheck.

“I’ve told many people before, it is not about money or winning money, just about this happening to another kid,” she said. “What if this happens again? Then, will somebody listen?”

She said she has not had contact with the daycare provider since the day Cameron was rushed to the emergency room, but she hopes they do talk again. 

“I would like her to reach out to me and tell me kind of her side of the story,” she said. “I don’t plan on contacting her. I don’t feel like I should have to make somebody care or give me an explanation.”

She added that she wants to believe her son swallowing the pacifier was an accident.

“But then you have all these other thoughts going through your head like, ‘What if it wasn’t? What if it was her fault?’”

She said that, in the end, she wants closure and understanding.

“I haven’t heard with my own ears the whole story,” she said. “She hasn’t reached out to me to see if Cameron was OK. It is frustrating not knowing how it happened because that is the first thing everyone asks.”

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