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Nashville police officer's quick action saves life of choking 9-month-old baby

A Tennessee police officer is being saluted after saving the life of a 9-month-old baby who was choking.

A frantic mother jumped out of a car at a gas station Tuesday night and begged Metro Nashville Police Officer Philip Claibourn to save her ailing son. He and another officer were investigating a traffic accident at the time. 

“I could hear that the baby was gasping for air and not really breathing and wasn't making any kind of noises other than that," Claibourn told WTVF.

He said his academy training in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver immediately kicked in.

Metro Nashville Police Officer Philip Claibourne poses for a photo with Tanisha Rutledge, 29, and her 9-month-old baby boy.

Metro Nashville Police Officer Philip Claibourne poses for a photo with Tanisha Rutledge, 29, and her 9-month-old baby boy. (Metro Nashville Police Department)

“I knelt down and turned the baby over and kind of palmed its chest in my hand and rested my hand on my leg,” he said. “I gave the baby one good smack on its back and immediately the baby started coughing and crying."

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Police identified the mother as Tanisha Rutledge, 29.

She was very relieved afterward, said Claibourn, who is the father of an 11-month-old girl.

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"On National First Responders Day we salute Central Precinct Officer Philip Claibourne, whose gentleness and training saved the life of a choking 9-month-old Tuesday night,” the Nashville Police Department said.

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