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With Girl On Life Support, Brooklyn Family Wants Answers In First Grader's Choking

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Brooklyn family was searching for answers Tuesday, after their little girl choked at school and was put on life support.

Noelia Echaverria, a first grader at P.S. 250 in Williamsburg, remained on life support at NYU. Authorities said she choked at school on Wednesday, but there hasn't been a definitive answer as to what she was eating, if anything.

Noelia's family has hired an attorney, who holds the school responsible.

"There are questions here. The biggest question is if someones is choking they should be prepared to deal with a situation like this," David Perecman said.

Instead, Qwaise Reid, a paramedic for Assist Ambulance, tried to save Noelia and is now suspended without pay. He got a knock on his passenger side door while assisting in transporting a nursing patient and jumped out to help.

There was no one doing anything to help her. Everyone was standing away from here," Reid said, "They told me she was eating a sandwich and started choking."

Based on her condition, Reid believes at least five minutes had passed by the time he arrived, and he thinks he was the first person to call 911.

The FDNY's EMS and the family both arrived less than five minutes after that.

"When I walked into the hallway my niece is laying on the floor with a bunch of blood everywhere, over her face, body, and floor, everything. I scream her name out," Noelia's uncle Alex Santiago said.

The New York City Department of Education would not go on camera, but issued a statement.

"Based on the information, we believe the principal and faculty responded swiftly to the emergency, notifying 911, and the student's family immediately. We continue to monitor this situation."

Administrators at P.S. 250 sent a letter home to parents on Monday, saying they followed protocol assuring them their children are safe.

The grieving family vehemently disagrees, and wants to know where the school nurse was, or anyone who could have helped Noelia.

"Somebody please tell me what happened to my niece. Nobody said anything. They locked the door and said go to the hospital," Santiago said.

Noelia is at NYU on the 9th floor. She's on life support. Her family said she's brain dead. They're hoping for what they call a miracle.

The family said the last thing they spoke to Noelia about was her Halloween costume. She asked to be a princess.

Perecman said the hospital thinks Noelia should be removed from life support, but her family is uncomfortable with that, 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reported.

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