Five-month-old Sebastian de la Cruz, the baby who stopped breathing on a Miami, Florida roadside, is currently in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital after the success of his miraculous rescue. Doctors say Sebastian must remain hospitalized until they can determine why the infant stopped breathing.
Born prematurely and suffering sporadic breathing difficulty, Sebastian’s breathing had been compromised since contracting a respiratory infection in January. His mother, 34-year-old Lucila Godoy of Florida, had scheduled an appointment for him that same day at the hospital where she works as a nurse, out of concern for his persistent breathing issues. As it turns out, her intuition and motherly concern was founded. It was on the road after leaving the appointment that the baby’s breathing problems combined with the muggy Miami heat combined to create a potentially fatal car ride.
Sebastian had been crying in his car seat and then suddenly stopped. He and Aunt Pamela Rauseo, 37, were stuck in standstill Miami traffic heading west on 836 when Rauseo felt the dead silence and her instincts kicked in. Rauseo quickly parked her SUV to check on Sebastian, when she noticed his rosy cheeks had gone pallid. Though she said she was in a panic, her immediate actions were spot-on and rescue workers credit her for saving the baby’s life.
Thankfully Sebastian’s aunt knew the basics of how to respond to her nephew’s particular condition. Although she has not been certified to perform CPR, she had personal experience with infant resuscitation seven years ago when her own son was hospitalized for similar issues as an infant. With only a brief tutorial she received years ago, Rauseo was able to keep the baby alive until emergency crews arrived. The success of this miraculous roadside rescue that saved the life of her baby nephew depended on her skills, as well as the fast response of Florida emergency crews.
Fellow motorists rushed to her aid when they noticed the woman in distress, screaming “help my baby!” She was immediately joined by 34-year-old Lucia Godoy of Miami, who left her own 3-year-old son in her vehicle. The two women commenced CPR on the baby and were able to bring back his breath, but not for long.
Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz happened to arrive just as the scene was unfolding, and was able to find help while simultaneously photographing the heroic rescue of little Sebastian. Diaz found Sweetwater police officer Amauris Bastidas, who ran quickly to the baby and took over CPR.
Soon after, two nearby emergency responders heard the call over their radios. Capt. Anthony Trim and Lt. Alvaro Tonanez of the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue team jumped out of their vehicles and rushed to aid the Rauseo and Bastidas, who were frantically performing CPR. The baby was breathing, but just barely. Sebastian was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Pediatrics unit. Thanks to the swift actions of a group of Good Samaritans on the Florida roadside and the skills of his loving aunt, baby Sebastian’s rescue was a miraculous success.
By Mimi Mudd