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Road conditions blamed for delay in choking child’s transport to hospital in Crosby

CROSBY, Texas – A toddler was released from Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital on Wednesday afternoon after a popcorn kernel was lodged in his throat last week.

According to Natalie Ruiz, her 19-month-old son, Noah Martinez, was eating popcorn with his brother, when he began choking.

“He started turning purple around the lips, bluish-purple,” Ruiz said. “His eyes were rolling back and he just wasn’t responding.”

Ruiz said she called 9-1-1 immediately, but it took a while before paramedics were able to reach her son.

According to Christy Graves, director of operations for Harris County Emergency Services District #5, paramedics made it to the front of Ruiz’s neighborhood in nine minutes, but it took another eight minutes before they were able to make contact with the toddler.

“He was clinically dead at the time they arrived,” Graves said.

Graves said her team struggled to reach Noah due to the treacherous conditions on West Crosby Street.

According to Graves, the team made the call to airlift Noah to the hospital.

“When a child is not breathing and loses a pulse, they should be with a physician immediately,” Graves said.

The private road is owned by Kelly Chapman. According to Chapman, road maintenance falls on those living in the neighborhood. She called it a joint responsibility.

Ruiz told us neighbors have pitched in to fix the potholes, but there is only so much they can do. She said she is considering moving.

“In a case like this, it’s life or death,” Ruiz said. “And for a road to be the part that plays such a big role in that is really sad.”

According to a spokesperson from Harris County Precinct 2, the road is considered an “orphan road” and is not built to county code. The spokesperson also said it would be illegal for the county to work on the road, but they will be reaching out to the owner.