A 5-year-old boy was reunited with his rescuers Tuesday, three months after he went into cardiac arrest on his school playground.
Elijah Watkins, along with his parents, were recognized by the Los Angeles Fire Department and once again met the paramedics and 911 caller who saved his life.
“Words cannot express the feeling I have right now. My heart is overwhelmed with joy,” said Lottie Watkins, the boy’s mother. “I can wake up every day and be thankful that my son is here with us and he survived such a great ordeal.”
Elijah, who his mother said is an aspiring firefighter himself, was found passed out on a playground by a school employee on May 29. He was released from the hospital July 19.
“When I saw him, he was already on the ground. He was unconscious, and I immediately called 911 at that time,” said Kiara Turner, the worker who found him. "I'm so thankful they were able to respond in time."
Cardiac arrest, which is uncommon in children, is caused by the stoppage of normal blood flow due to the heart not contracting properly. If it happens suddenly, the chances of survival are only 10 percent, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.
The risk of cardiac arrest for those under 18 varies from 0.8 to 6.2 cases/100,000 population per year compared to 1 case per 1,000 for adults, according to a 2004 study by the Pediatric Clinics of North America.
NBC4's Christopher Li contributed to this report.
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