Dispatcher honored for saving 1-year-old boy from choking - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Dispatcher honored for saving 1-year-old boy from choking

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Dispatcher Gloria Spence was awarded the Medal of Honor Monday. Dispatcher Gloria Spence was awarded the Medal of Honor Monday.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A 1-year-old boy is alive thanks to the quick thinking of a 911 dispatcher who helped his mother save his life.  That dispatcher was honored for her life-saving efforts Monday.

On August 30, 2013, Carrissa Sanford called 911 to report that her 1-year-old son, Bentlee, was choking and had stopped breathing. For Sanford, it was a call that changed her life.

Dispatcher Gloria Spence provided emergency medical instructions to Sanford.

"I want you to strike the baby's back five times right between his shoulder blades," said the dispatcher on the other end of the line.

Although a traumatic and stressful event, the dispatcher was able to keep Sanford calm and help her to follow the all of important life-saving instructions.

"I panicked," Sanford recalled. "I tried to do the Heimlich like you would on a grown person and it wasn't working."

She continued, "The moment I saw him turn blue is when I got really scared and he started bleeding from his mouth."

After calling 911 and listening to Spence's instructions, Sanford was able to get Bentlee breathing again.

"When it became dislodged, or he swallowed it or whatever, you could hear his loud crying," said Spence. "That was a great sense of relief."

Bentlee just celebrated his first birthday on September 18.

Now, the woman who saved him is being called a hero for her calm spirit and invaluable advice.

"I'm really thankful to have him still with me," said Sanford.

Dispatcher Gloria Spence was awarded the Medal of Honor Monday in Dyersburg for her life-saving feat. She was very modest about what she did, crediting all of the wonderful training the City of Dyersburg has given to her to do her job well.

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