Cygnet girl uses skills to save sister PDF Print E-mail
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 30 October 2012 09:39
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Sisters (from left) Mallory Miller, 7, Emily Miller, 3 and Victoria Miller, 5 of Cygnet. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
CYGNET - Mallory Miller's costume of choice for Halloween is a fairy. But the 7-year-old could easily dress up as Super Girl or Wonder Woman.
After trick or treating in the village on Wednesday, Mallory will be feted at the village fire department for saving her 3-year-old sister, Emily, from choking on a piece of gum last month. Cygnet Council has declared Oct. 31 "Mallory Jean Miller Day" and will award the Elmwood second-grader a plaque.
Mallory learned the skills, including the Heimlich maneuver and CPR, necessary to save her sister from a class at the Cygnet Volunteer Fire Department. The whole family, including mom Lindsay, dad Joe and sister Victoria, 5, attended the class, which was held the day before Emily choked on Sept. 20.
Emily, who has cerebral palsy and a host of other medical issues, had been having trouble swallowing due to weak throat muscles, said mom Lindsay.
"Emily had been choking a lot," she said. "We decided to take this class to be prepared."
The family of five, plus Lindsay's mom and dad, Tammy and Bruce Mathias, and Joe's mother, Leslie Miller, all attended the class led by family friend and EMT, Luke Swartz. He taught them how to help a choking toddler, by placing her over the knees and slapping upward on the back.
Little did Mallory know she'd use those new skills on her sister the next day.
Lindsay was doing dishes in the kitchen while the girls played in the adjoining room.
Mallory said Emily came upon a pack of gum, put a piece in her mouth - and started choking.
Her training instantly kicked in; she threw her sister over her knee and whacked Emily on the back. Mom knew something was amiss.
"You can just tell it got busy. I don't know how to describe it," Lindsay said. "Then I heard Victoria say, 'should we start compressions?' I wondered if they were playing doctor."
She entered the living room just in time to see Emily puking on Mallory's arm.
An adjustment in medication is helping Emily not to choke so much, but the Millers are glad they got the training.
Lindsay said she became concerned about Emily's development when she was about six months old. She wasn't achieving milestones, like rolling over, sitting up or holding a bottle. She's been diagnosed with CP, apraxia and an unknown genetic condition, among other things, Lindsay said. The family has seen every doctor and specialist they can find.
"No one can actually pinpoint what's going on."
But Emily has blossomed with speech, physical, water and horse-riding therapy, and at preschool at Elmwood she started in March.
"The school has been such a blessing because they have just accepted her," said Lindsay, who singled out teacher Brittany Baightel, who e-mails her almost daily with Emily's progress.
Doctors often told the family that Emily would never walk or talk. A few weeks ago, she started toddling around the house, mostly on her tippy-toes. She spells m-o-m, if asked, and politely offers visitors Play-Doh hot dogs.
Mallory enjoys gym, library and music in her second-grade class at Elmwood, and doing cartwheels with her best friends. She thinks someday she might be a doctor, nurse, teacher or physical therapist.
Cygnet Mayor Nancy Myers hopes the Millers' story drums up support for the fire department class, and shows that even young children - like Mallory - can grasp the concept of lifesaving training.
"As young as she was, she was able to save her sister," Myers said.
The next class is Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 10:14
 

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