Deputy Dies From Infection Caught While Saving Infant
The Daily Mail
March 17, 2011
ORANGE COUNTY, FL – A police officer who tried to save a newborn baby with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation has died after a five-year battle with an illness he caught from the infant.
Sheriff’s Deputy Sebastian Diana died suddenly of heart failure at his home in Orange County, Florida, after he developed complications from a bacterial infection he picked up during his heroic attempt to save the boy’s life.
The 40-year-old had been off sick from work since 2007 as he fought the condition, the exact nature of which was not disclosed by Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
He caught the illness in February 2006, when he was called to a home in Orange County after a frantic call from a mother who said her son was not breathing.
He was one of three deputies who arrived on the scene to find the mother screaming that her son was dead.
Officials say Mr Diana gave the boy mouth-to-mouth, but as he did so he came into contact with some of the infant’s vomit.
The boy died, and Mr Diana, a father of four, was later struck down with a bacterial infection.
Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jerry Demings said; ‘In many ways, the very life that he was trying to save may have cost him his own life.’
’That’s what law-enforcement officers do.They put themselves in harm’s way every day.’
Cardiologist Adam Waldman told ABC it’s likely the infection attacked Mr Diana’s heart valves.
He said: ‘Especially if we’re talking left-side valves, the aortic and mitral valves, we can see these patients set up with heart failure.’
Mr Diana joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1999 after serving in the army for six years. He was stationed in Panama, Fort Hood and Germany.
At first he carried on working after he became ill, and was awarded the Medal of Merit and a Community Service Ribbon in 2007 when he saved a child’s life.
Wearing a protective mask, he carried out CPR on an infant who had stopped breathing. He was able to resuscitate the infant until paramedics arrived to take over.
Corporal Susan Soto said: ‘Due to Sebastian’s immediate and selfless response, he was able to save the child’s life.’
Mr Diana’s funeral will take place at the weekend. He leaves behind three sons and a daughter as well as his wife, Sheri.
His death was the second tragedy for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in a week.
Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Erickson,48, collapsed and died while off duty at a swimming pool in Orlando on Wednesday.