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Sea Gate officer saves choking baby

Close call: Sergeant Fred Manney’s years of training as a corrections officer and in the U.S. Army kicked in when he found then-5-month-old Mikaela Tatarkina unresponsive during a call on Jan. 25.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

A quick-thinking Sea Gate police officer saved a five-month-old’s life when the infant had an allergic reaction to baby formula.

A grateful father said the officer who saved his daughter’s life two weeks ago is far more than a hero now.

“I told him ‘You are family now,’ ” Victor Tatarkin said.

Sgt. Fred Manney walked into a harrowing situation when responded to a call that a five-month-old having difficulty breathing at 9:44 am on Jan. 25, he said. The child was completely unresponsive when Manney arrived, and that’s when the former corrections officer’s years of training kicked in, he said.

“You just know what to do,” said Manney. “I’ve never had to work on anyone this young, but you’re trained so many times that all the training falls into place and you get positive results.”

An initial attempt to resuscitate the youth failed, so Manney called an ambulance, put an ice pack under the baby’s back, and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation again — a method he said he learned during time in the Army — according to a police report.

“The ice pack will stimulate the system,” Manney said. “It’s not normal, so the hope is it will shock the person into breathing — and it worked.”

But they were not out of the woods yet — Manney radioed the rest of Sea Gate’s on-duty officers to keep Neptune Avenue clear for the responding ambulance.

Two cops kept the stairs clear and grabbed all of the food and medication the baby took in the last day so doctors could test for allergens, he said. The baby arrived at the hospital without incident and Manney attributes that to the Sea Gate force’s teamwork more than his own heroism, he said.

“Each of the five officers on duty that day outdid themselves — the teamwork was so crisp and coordinated,” he said. “This chief has pushed training, training, training, and it all paid off that day.”

The Sea Gate Police Department — a private, New York Police Department-sanctioned force of state peace officers — will honor Manney and officers Nick Shwartz, Tommy Shulz, Vincent Giadiello, Joe Pascone Jr., and cadet Elijah Santos at a ceremony on Feb. 15.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.

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