CLOVIS — Eva Saiz’ attention was torn between two men Tuesday. Her finger tracing the ridges on Patrol Officer Mike Reeves’ silver and gold badge, she coyly looked up through thick eye lashes to issue a flirtatious, toothy smile at Tech. Sgt. Charles Derflinger.
The swift actions of Reeves and Derflinger, a Cannon Air Force Base firefighter, are being credited with helping save the 10-year-old Clovis toddler from choking on a hair barrette a day earlier.
Maybe it was fate, or as Reeves believes, something far stronger, but something brought the trio together at just the right time Monday afternoon.
“It was a divine intervention in this case, because I shouldn’t have even been there. God was the one that put me there and ultimately deserves the honor and the glory,” Reeves said.
Reeves left work at the police department early Monday and was on his way to a meeting at Plains Regional Medical Center, where he works part-time in the emergency room as a registered nurse.
Passing a convenience store at the corner of 14th and Prince streets, the father of four spotted a panicked woman pulling a baby from a car.
Eva Saiz’ airway was restricted as she gagged on a barrette, so Reeves applied chest compressions to the toddler while trying to clear her mouth.
Reeves said when Derflinger stopped to help, he instructed him to use the police radio to let dispatch know where they were.
Derflinger took it one step further and began relaying status reports on the child, saving critical time, Reeves said.
“He was able to relay some detailed medical information that allowed the paramedics to be prepared for immediate transport as soon as they got there,” Reeves said.
Derflinger’s wife, Jennié Derflinger, comforted Eva’s mother, Keri Smith, until the ambulance arrived.
Smith said Reeves held Eva in the ambulance and at the hospital as emergency staff tried to pull the clip from her throat.
“He was heaven sent, he’s a hero. He was by her side the whole time,” Smith said.
As hospital staff evaluated the next step, Reeves said Eva coughed. He saw the clip in her mouth and pulled it out.
“She bit his finger too,” Smith said. “She’s got four little teeth and she tore his finger up pretty good.”
PRMC Interim Manager for Critical Care Services Denise King said the quick actions of Reeves and Derflinger likely saved the child’s life.
Derflinger said it wasn’t until Tuesday he learned of the outcome.
“Baby’s OK, baby survived... I’m good. I’m glad everything turned out good.”
Smith said she has kept a watchful eye on Eva after the scare.
“We kicked daddy out of the bed last night,” she said laughing.
Eva won’t be wearing barrettes again for a long time, her mother said.