New training program allows NYPD officers to bring toddler home from hospital

A toddler is home for the first time since he was born thanks to a new training program.

Nadia Galindo

Sep 8, 2022, 9:30 PM

Updated 611 days ago


An Orange County couple is home for the first time with their toddler son after he spent 17 months in the hospital.
The moment is a longtime coming for his moms Diana Vasquez and Anna Rivera.
"To have him home, he has a room he has never been in," said Vasquez.
The Washingtonville couple's son was born premature and was diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung disease.
River's condition meant he had to be on a ventilator to breathe and was fed through a gastronomy tube.
"It’s very heartbreaking for me to hear that, you know I still get emotional now thinking about it.. like how everyone kind of counted him out," said Rivera.
River was admitted to Blyethdale Children's Hospital last October where he was weaned off the ventilator and underwent feeding therapy.
His parents, who are both NYPD officers, were also given training through the hospitals Parent and Family Education Program that has allowed the toddler to finally go home.
"If there is any kind of problem with the tracheostomy somebody has to be available to change it every second of the day, 24/7," said Dr. Dennis Davidson, Unit Chief, Infant & Toddler, Neonatology at Blythedale Children's Hospital.
Rivera and Vasquez learned how to manage River's tracheostomy tube, respond to loss of oxygen and place and clean his feeding tube.
"We are police officers full-time and part-time nurses now," said Vasquez.
The $1.3 million, state-of-the-art simulation lab and parent training center was opened this year at Blythedale, and helps train families so they can bring their medically complex children home.
Doctors say they will one day be able to remove River's tracheostomy and feeding tubes.

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