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December 21, 2016 - 11:39am

When a baby stopped breathing, one of Settler's regular customers saved her life

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.


There's a family in Batavia whose Christmas is going to be a whole lot brighter thanks to Liz Machala.

That's because there's a baby who is alive who might not be if not for Machala's ability to remain calm under stress and her knowledge of CPR.

Yesterday at Settler's Restaurant, Machala was eating lunch with friends, as she often does on Tuesdays at Settler's, when there was a big commotion on the other side of the restaurant.

"The father was yelling, 'she's not breathing, she's not breathing, somebody do something.' "

Restaurant owner John Spyropoulos immediately called 9-1-1 and dispatchers sent an ambulance for a 6-month-old in cardiac arrest.

Machala rushed from her seat and found the baby was turning blue.

"I turned her on her side," Machala said. "I pounded her on her back. I stuck my fingers down her throat. She had something stuck. I pounded her on her chest and flipped her over again to pound her on her back and she started screaming."

Machala said her only thought at that point was, "I'm happy."

The baby was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital for evaluation and this morning the baby's mother came in the restaurant and said she wanted to do something for Machala but Machala said she isn't looking for any attention.

She doesn't like a lot of attention on herself she said and was a bit reluctant to even talk with a reporter about yesterday.

"Anybody would have done what I did," she said. "Unfortunately, nobody did. People don't like to get involved. I, unfortunately, am one of those people who will get involved and get my ass kicked in the end." 

Machala learned CPR when she worked with mentally disabled people years ago.

This morning, Machala was in Settler's, as she usually is on Wednesday morning, with a group of friends.

As she was leaving, and the friends were all wishing each other a Merry Christmas, one of them told her, "Liz, I'm proud to know you."

"Now you're making me blush," Machala said.

UPDATE Thursday, Dec. 22, 10:20 a.m.: Falicia Tuczai posted the following on our link on Facebook:

I do not want my corrections to come across as rude, or negate the fact that I am truly grateful beyond measure for the impeccable aid my daughter received from Liz and everyone's assistance. But because this has gained so much publicized attention, I wanna clear up any inaccurate facts. First, I wanna bring attention to the other nurse that was involved in helping my daughter. She too was present, and from what I've gathered was actually the one who performed CPR. She certainly deserves as much praise as the lady already mentioned. However, I will not disclose her name with not having any type of prior consent. Thank you both sincerely for all your efforts in helping my daughter! We could obviously never repay such an act! The article does mention the "mother" going to the restaurant this morning to repay this nurse, however, that was not me as I have been with my daughter at the hospital. Additionally, my daughter's age is actually 14 months old. What she suffered from was a seizure. This has now been a reoccurrence to one she had in August. We hope to find answers to these sporadic unexplained episodes, but all things set aside she is healthy and happy and doing extremely well! So we appreciate all who were aware that reached out to us to check on her. As far as cardiac arrest, that is not something that occurred. It is common for the heart to shallow to a point it's hard to detect for a brief moment till your body stabilizes naturally. As she may have had food in her mouth, the seizure is what caused her to choke not visa versa. Seizures themselves are non-life threatening. It's other sources such as eating, driving etc. while an episode is happening that can be. I would never wish this experience on anyone, but with how common I learned of them to be, it never hurts to be knowledgeable on how to aid someone properly during a seizure and recognize the signs! It can be very intense and scary. Golisano children's neurological team has been amazing both times in our scares to bring comfort and awareness to us as well. And again thank you all so much to the nurses, EMTs, Drs Etc as well the outpouring of concern we received. Macie is one blessed and loved little girl.

John Roach
John Roach's picture
Last seen: 1 week 4 days ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am

Maybe this story will get more people to take a First Aid course

Lisa Schwab
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Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2011 - 10:32pm

WOW, talk about being in the right place at the right time! Liz you are an amazing lady and I am so glad you went with your gut instead of your head. We need more people like you and the world would be a better place for sure. We should all take a lesson from you and let our guard down and see what a difference we could make.

Kevin Ross
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Last seen: 3 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: Dec 31 2011 - 4:16pm

Great job Ms. Machala. You have made a very Merry Christmas for this young family. You are a great person for acting to save a life. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

Ed Glow
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Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 16 2008 - 7:49pm

Ms. Machala's quick and decisive actions are far beyond "commendable", but I don't understand why cardiac arrest and CPR are the focus of this situation. Ms. Machala clearly stated the child had something stuck in it's throat so she performed the Heimlich maneuver, and she performed it perfectly.

Every parent should know how to do this as children are ALWAYS putting things in their mouths. The link below provides instructions for performing the Heimlich maneuver on children (the instructions are significantly different for adults.) If you read them you'll see this is exactly what Ms. Machala did and I'll repeat... she did it perfectly!

Thank you Ms. Machala for stepping up and remaining calm to help this child at a critical and most likely chaotic time!


Frank Bartholomew
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Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 4 2010 - 8:02pm

Seizures most certainly can be life threatening,particularly grand mall seizures associated with epilepsy.Great story,but please don't misinform people.One other problem

Frank Bartholomew
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Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 4 2010 - 8:02pm

Posted before finished,?This story left me a little confused,was CPR performed before the Heimlich maneuver,that would be so wrong,you do not perform CPR on a choking victim.Maybe CPR was administered after the Heimlich because the infant was still not breathing,the story was not real conclusive as far as the order of events.At any rate,the statement "seizures themselves are non-life threatening" is very inaccurate.

Ed Glow
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Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 16 2008 - 7:49pm

Frank... there are many different types of "seizures". I'm sure she was referring to the particular seizures her child experiences, and I think it's safe to say she's well informed by her medical professionals.

Daniel Jones
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Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: May 2 2008 - 9:36am
Frank Bartholomew
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Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 4 2010 - 8:02pm

Well Dan,I see it as a public service,make folks aware.Some seizures can be fatal,and I don't want folks to think a person having a seizure isn't a life threatening situation,error on the side of caution,call an ambulance.Sorry I don't meet your standards for having a real concern.

Frank Bartholomew
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Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 4 2010 - 8:02pm

Ed,I've dealt with Galisano,so I'm very well informed about the various types of seizures.The story did not differentiate,the quote "seizures themselves are non-life threatening",is inaccurate.A grand mall seizure can,and has, taken lives.
Again,if you witness a person having a seizure,be smart,call an ambulance.For anyone to say seizures are non-life threatening is just false,and irresponsible.Some seizures are,and some are not,and the story should make that clear.The thumbs down show a degree of ignorance I originally suspected,which was the motivation for my comments.If some of you have ever dealt with epilepsy,you would have a better understanding of what I'm saying and why I'm saying it.

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