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Jersey City Girl Meets Paramedics Who Saved Her Life

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A Jersey City mom has plenty of reasons to be thankful. Her precious young daughter nearly died choking on a grape had it not been for Emergency Services paramedics. On Tuesday, she met the people who saved her child's life.

Priscilla Hope Pereira made the perfect entrance with a nice big hug for everyone.  The 5-year-old knew she was looking at the same men who saved her life.

"Honestly she was already gone. She was like gone...she was gone," Priscilla's mom, Ivelisse, told CBS 2's Emily Smith.

Last weekend, at a backyard barbeque with family and friends, Priscilla choked on a grape and during the chaos a friend called 911 desperate for help.

The girl's mother said she was forced to watch her daughter, who was not breathing and had no pulse, for about five minutes before Jersey City Fire Department EMT's arrived.

They jumped into action, but couldn't get the grape out. To buy time, they used a bag valve mask to give her artificial air.

Minutes later, Jersey City Medical Center EMS arrived with more advanced equipment.

"We were able to locate the grape reach inside, grab the grape and pull it out of her trachea and into her mouth. Her teeth were clenched so I was unable to remove it. Then my partner reached inside grabbed it and pulled it all the way out,"  paramedic Brian Moriarty said.

EMT officials said everyone should be professionally trained to do the Heimlich Maneuver. They said it works 99 percent of the time. In Priscilla's case, further action was necessary.

Had the family waited even a few more minutes, Priscilla could have suffered serious brain damage or died.

Priscilla might not realize just how lucky she is, but those involved in her rescue know her ability to even say thank you is truly more than anyone could've imagined.

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