Delivering the breath of life
Rankin Inlet man stops daughter from choking

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Apr 08/98) - Sandy Papak won't easily forget the look of his baby daughter's face as she choked on a piece of cracker.

"I was eating muktuk when my panik starting choking -- (afterwards) I couldn't forget her face for a couple of days ... her face was all purple and she looked out of it," he said of the March 26 incident in Rankin Inlet.

Papak, 20, said he tries not to think about what could have happened had he not performed CPR and got his only daughter breathing again after what he estimates to be a couple of minutes.

"(At the time) I thought I was going to lose her, but I tried not to panic too much," he said. "I just didn't want to lose her that's what was going through my mind."

After hitting the baby on the back and his girlfriend, Nancy Manernaluk, trying to get the food out of her mouth, Papak starting blowing into his daughter's tiny mouth.

"Then I tried to breath into her mouth, but she wasn't breathing," he said. "I tried to breathe into her mouth again and then she started breathing. Afterward, she was in shock, just staring straight ahead."

Manernaluk, 18, said she too was scared she was going to lose her baby. "I didn't know what to do," she said. "I'm glad he was around."

After Sandra started breathing on her own, Papak took the eight-month-old to the health centre, where she was later released with a clean bill of health.

Papak, who works as a mechanic's helper for the hamlet of Rankin inlet, said that the incident shows the importance of knowing CPR.

"When I was younger, I was trained how to do CPR when anybody is choking on something," he said.

Papak doesn't see himself as a hero of any kind, just lucky that his daughter is still alive.

But Manernaluk said she won't soon forget what he did to save their baby.

"I thank him very much," she said.

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