The snow storms that have blanketed the New York metro area indirectly almost killed two young girls in the Bronx, N.Y., last week. They came close to dying of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sisters Brianna Valverde, 4, and Ashlyn Valverde, 7, last Thursday were in their mother’s idling Nissan when they were overcome by carbon monoxide, which came into the vehicle because its tailpipe was stuffed with snow. 

Their mother Jasmine Mendoza had left them in the car while she dug it out of the snow that has piled up on New York City’s streets. When Mendoza peeked in the car 15 minutes later, she saw that both her girls were unconscious, and she called paramedics.

When New York Fire Department medics Charles Washington and Terry Middleton arrived, the two sisters weren’t breathing, according to the New York Daily News. The girls were already getting medical help inside a Bronx Lebanon Hospital ambulance, but Washington and Middleton stepped in and ventilated the youngsters with a handheld device called a Ambu bag, the News reported.

Brianna was almost done for. The medics tried to put an esophageal tube down her throat, to open an airway, but her jaw “was clenched shut,” so they continued to use the Ambu bag on her, the News said. Her hands were so cold that a device used to measure a person’s carbon monoxide level wouldn’t work on her.

Finally, on the way to the hospital in the ambulance, Brianna started breathing. Both she and her sister Ashlyn were treated in a hyperbaric chamber and were released Thursday night.



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