• Child critical after choking on hot dog when mother left children home alone


    LITHONIA, Ga. - A Lithonia mother is in jail and her daughter is in critical condition after choking on food.

    DeKalb County police have charged the girl's mother with child cruelty.

    Doctors are treating the 4-year-old girl in the intensive care unit at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

    Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri talked with a neighbor who called 911 and performed the Heimlich maneuver on the child after she nearly choked to death on a hot dog. All of this happened, according to police, while her mother was out running errands.

    "They worked on her for a long time out here and we just heard she's in critical condition. We're happy," said neighbor Faheemah Fortune. "I feared the worst. I saw the worst. Like I said I checked her pulse. Nothing she had nothing."

    Fortune's husband Christopher had pulled into his driveway on Sara Ashley Way in Lithonia when one of the kids living next door ran up in a panic.

    "He said 'My sister's choking on a hot dog and she's about to die.' So you can't think in a situation like that, you just react," Christopher Fortune told Viteri.

    He called 911. Christopher said he then ran next door and found the girl convulsing on the floor and started to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

    "I did it for about seven minutes and I turned her over patted her back. I just wanted to dislodge whatever it is that was in her throat," he said.

    The children told him the girl grabbed a hot dog from her sister, tried to swallow it and then started to choke.

    "My gut reaction was, 'I got to save her, I got to help her by any means necessary,'" Christopher Fortune said.

    First responders got there within minutes and crews airlifted the girl to the hospital.

    Police said there were five children alone in the home from 4 to 10 years old.

    Viteri saw the kids leaving Tuesday night in the care of a family member after police arrested their mother Vivian White. Neighbors said White had left to get food.

    "You just don't leave children alone like that. You can't you see what happens. You just can't do that," Faheemah Fortune said.

    Police charged White with second-degree cruelty to children and booked her into the DeKalb County Jail.

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