Rani Macdonald recovering in Hospital.
Rani Macdonald recovering in Hospital.

CPR plea after baby's brain damage from choking

AN EMERALD mum has spoken about the terrifying moment her baby girl choked on a piece of mango, to encourage people to learn CPR and avoid other parents being thrust into the "nightmare" she is living.

While her two daughters were eating afternoon tea at home, mum Stephanie Johnson noticed 8-month-old Rani was choking on a piece of mango.

After realising the mango was dislodged far back in baby Rani's throat, she raced to the backyard and yelled to her partner, Rogan Macdonald, "help me she's choking".

"He grabbed Rani and tried to do whatever we could to get it out and then I called an ambulance and he commenced infant CPR," Ms Johnson said.

Mr Macdonald continued CPR for about five minutes while on the phone to Queensland Ambulance, a move paramedics later told the couple had saved Rani's life.

"They said that they can only get one per cent of babies back and they were able to get her back," Ms Johnson said.

"If I was home alone it would be a different scenario, because I went into freak-out mode."

Rani sustained severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen to her brain and her parents will be spending the foreseeable future learning how to meet her new care needs.

"The told us to start with that the brain injury she suffered would be moderate to severe but after a second MRI they said it was an extensively severe disability," Ms Johnson said.

"We live in hope everyday for a medical miracle for Rani but we have been told that she won't walk or talk for herself again."

Baby Rani with big sister Millie Macdonald, 3, in the hospital.
Baby Rani with big sister Millie Macdonald, 3, in the hospital.


The Emerald parents want to use their experience to motivate people to learn CPR and be ready to act if needed.

"I kind of had in my head that something like this will never happen to me," Ms Johnson said.

"I remember throwing a CPR magnet in the bin thinking I'll never need that, you know, that won't happen to me but never say never because your life can change in a second.

"The biggest thing that if we can prompt other parents to do first aid, get it up to date, it may help another parent from living the nightmare that we're living."

Ms Johnson said it's not enough to have just one member of the house with CPR training.

"I've had my first aid for 20 years and I just froze, you know I was a freak out parent, and if both parents know it at least one of them can be like what Rogan did and just cool, calm and collected and what to do," she said.

Red Cross regional training lead Janie McCullagh said parents who don't have the training can often panic in the heat of the moment, causing a delay in starting CPR.

"It's seconds that makes the difference," she said.

"Knowledge is power and knowledge gives confidence to knowing what to do, whether it's choking, whether it's drowning in the backyard."

Parents can get certified in a 3 hour course with the Red Cross or refresh the basics in a 90 minute online course.

Support Rani: gofundme.com/f/hope4rani

Originally published as Family's plea after choking 'nightmare'