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Broadcaster on lockdown tells of how nurse saved his little boy from choking on a grape


Drama: Conall with son Naoise

Drama: Conall with son Naoise

Drama: Conall with son Naoise

A BBC Radio Ulster broadcaster's toddler son almost choked to death on a grape while the whole family was at home during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Conall O Mairtin, who lives in Eglish, Co Tyrone, said he thought he had killed Naoise when the tot began to choke on a piece of fruit he had been given.

"Parents all over the country are under huge pressure, and I suppose we felt that too," Conall told Raidio na Gaeltachta.

"You think you have to have everything for the kids, just as they do in school." 

At break time Conall had given his children some fruit when he heard a strange noise.

"I turned around and Naoise, who's one, was choking. His eyes were rolling, and his face was turning red and purple."

Unable to clear the blockage, Conall and his wife decided to seek help from a local nurse.

"I kept Naoise on my lap as I drove and I was slapping him on the back. 

"I jumped out of the car, and I thought the little boy was dead, that I had killed him with the food I had given him."

Initially it seemed there was nobody home, but eventually the nurse, Ethel, dislodged the grape.

"But for Ethel, Naoise wouldn't be here today," Conall said.

"She was upstairs getting ready to go out for a walk... a few more minutes and she wouldn't have been there."

Conall said the incident - which happened early in the lockdown - has given him a new perspective on what's important in life.

"You think these other things are important... that they must get three or four hours of education a day, but no, I realised that the important thing is that everyone is safe and well."

Belfast Telegraph