"One of the best decisions I had ever made"
- Joseph Lugo
In light of startling statistics that one child dies every day from choking, Pix 11 featured a story on an invention that could have potentially prevented the deaths of Noelia Echavarria and Dyasha Smith.
Arthur Lih was devastated by the startling reality of choking deaths in schools, so he did something about it. Lih invented the LifeVac, a device that uses simple suction to dislodge objects from the throat, whereas other types of choking prevention devices can lodge objects deeper.
Pix 11 recently covered Lih’s invention, using tragic examples such as Noelia Echavarria and Dyasha Smith to highlight the need for such a device. The families of Echavarria and Smith are both being represented by The Perecman Firm.
“I hate to say it, but that’s what happened in Avonte’s case,” said Attorney David Perecman regarding the school personnel’s failure to report the issue in a timely manner.
When Alex Santiago arrived to Noelia’s school, PS 250, on the day she died, he was shocked to find that no one was there to administer first aid.
“Nobody was there to help her and she didn’t get oxygen. And she went brain dead,” said Santiago. The family is still unsure whether any school personnel used the Heimlich or performed CPR on Noelia.
School personnel need to be trained to handle emergency situations like choking, as well as best practices for monitoring children with autism. The Perecman Firm is actively involved in pushing for changes that would ensure children get the attention and monitoring they need to stay safe in school.
One way you can get involved is by signing our petition to increase the visibility of Senator Schumer’s legislation “Avonte’s Law,” which will help students and families of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder get the safe learning environment they deserve.