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“Off-Duty” Kent Hospital Staff Save Local Child’s Life


When the right people with the right training are in the right place at the right time, it can make a world of difference. Earlier this summer, Brydie Thomasian, MSW, LICSW, director of behavioral health and clinical social work at Kent Hospital, was relaxing in her yard in Coventry, RI, with friends and their young children. She had recently completed recertification in basic life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but had no idea her skills would be needed that afternoon.

Suddenly, her friend Paulina Oliveira’s 14-month-old daughter began choking on a piece of fruit and stopped breathing, quickly becoming unresponsive and presenting discoloration of the skin. Taking action quickly, Brydie initiated back blows followed by chest compressions to try and dislodge the food while others called 9-1-1. Emily Colyer, DO, emergency medicine physician at Kent Hospital, who lives nearby, ran over after hearing the calls for help. Together, the two were able to open the child’s airway while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. The child was briefly hospitalized but made a quick and complete recovery greatly due to the training and teamwork demonstrated by these two Kent employees.

Paulina Oliveira, mother of the toddler, said, “I would never wish this experience upon any parent. We are so lucky to have had a positive outcome, due to Brydie’s quick reaction, knowledge, and composure. She saved my child’s life.”

Paulina continued, “This event drove home the importance of being certified in CPR. After this experience, both my husband and I went to take classes.”

According to the National Safety Council, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury or death. Choking is also a leading cause of death in children and infants, who require a different rescue procedure than adults.

Thomasian said, “I think that CPR training is easy to overlook because we all hope we will never find ourselves in a situation that calls for it. I certainly never thought I would have to use the training, but I’m extremely grateful for it now. I encourage everyone to consider taking a course. No one ever wants to witness a life-threatening crisis but we absolutely don’t want to be wishing we took a course if that crisis comes.”

Emily Colyer, DO, emergency medicine physician at Kent Hospital, added, “In this event, as well as many pediatric airway obstruction and respiratory arrest cases, time is of the essence. It was a blessing that Brydie was there, trained in CPR and basic life support, and was able to take action immediately. Had that not been the case, the outcome for Paulina’s daughter may not have been as bright.”

There are a number of basic life support and CPR training opportunities available throughout the state of Rhode Island. To learn more about becoming certified review course options, please visit the American Heart Association’s website at

About Kent Hospital

Kent Hospital, a Care New England Hospital, is a 359-bed, acute care hospital. It is Rhode Island’s second largest hospital, serving approximately 300,000 residents of central Rhode Island.

A teaching affiliate of The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kent offers programs in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and an Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship. Kent’s redesigned Emergency Department (ED) sees approximately 70,000 patients a year and ranks Kent’s ED volume among the top 10-percent nationally. It was the first hospital in the state to eliminate the practice of ambulance diversion.