A Spanish-speaking dispatcher for the D.C. Fire Department gave instructions in cardiopulmonary resuscitation over the telephone, enabling a woman who spoke no English to revive her infant child who had stopped breathing, fire officials said last night.
They said Alberto Barnett, the department's only Spanish-speaking dispatcher, was on duty about 10:50 a.m. Wednesday when the woman, who could not be identified immediately, telephoned 911.
According to fire department spokesman Leo Givs, she told Barnett that the child, a boy a little more than a year old, "was not breathing," and "was turning purple."
Barnett sent an ambulance and an engine company to the woman's Northwest address, and while they were en route, he began instructing her in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
When the rescue personnel arrived, Givs said, Barnett spoke with them by telephone and learned that the "CPR had worked and the mother was able to revive" the child.
The child was taken to a hospital and later released, Givs said. The cause of the incident was not immediately known.
A second Spanish-speaking dispatcher is expected to begin work Monday, Givs said, and the department is trying to recruit four more so that at least one will be on duty at all times.