Alexis Muscatello, the new Safe Sitter® of the
Year, used her Safe Sitter® skills to save the life of her younger
brother Joel. She now has a real-life understanding of her father's
job. Todd Muscatello is the EMS Coordinator in the ER at
Rutland Regional Medical Center in Rutland,
Todd, who sees potential life and death situations every day on
the job, is understandingly proud of his daughter's life-saving
"She's my hero! Her quick thinking and her instant
reaction saved her brother's life," he said. "I cry when I think of
what could have been. We're just so grateful that RRMC offers the
Safe Sitter® course. It's because of Safe Sitter® that Joel
is still with us. We can't thank the Instructors enough. I'm almost
One day this past June, after her parents had left home for the
day, Alexis, 13, was in charge of Joel. It was early in the morning
and, because Alexis had been given permission to sleep in a bit,
Joel, 10, decided to get out of bed and head downstairs for a
snack. His snack of choice, carrots, got stuck in his throat so he
grabbed a drink of water to wash them down.
"That's when I couldn't breathe and I couldn't even cough," Joel
recounted. "I started to feel a little woozy."
Joel knew he had to get help fast. He also knew Alexis would
know what to do so he ran to her room. After he shook his big
sister awake, she could instantly tell by the pale color of his
face and the way he was clutching his throat that he was
As Joel began to slump, Alexis turned him around to perform
abdominal thrusts. She calmly administered one strong thrust and
dislodged the carrot. Joel could breathe again.
Despite being jarred out of sleep by a brother in distress,
Alexis said she knew right away what she needed to do because she
learned it in Safe Sitter®.
"I knew he was choking and I had to do the Heimlich Maneuver,"
she said. "I knew what to do and how to do it. And I wasn't scared
at all, at least not until it was all over."
Only when she called her mother Shannon at work, did Alexis cry
recounting the near-tragic episode. Shannon, who also works
at Rutland Regional Medical Center, rushed home to make sure both
of her children were alright.
"I was just completely stunned," said Shannon. "Lexi and
Joel were in Joel's room and she was holding his hand and rubbing
his back. I just kept telling her how proud of her I
The hospital videotaped the Muscatello's inspiring story and it
was shown on a local television station. The segment also
featured Susan Lebel, RN, a Safe Sitter® Instructor and Site
Coordinator of the hospital's program.
Alexis took Safe Sitter® over 2 years ago and is now a Teen
Volunteer at the hospital. The Volunteer Coordinator gave her
special recognition in front of her fellow volunteers - a carrot
cake. Joel was very careful eating it!
"If she hadn't known how to do the Heimlich Maneuver, then I
probably wouldn't be here today," said Joel. "I am very
Alexis clearly demonstrated outstanding performance of Safe
Sitter® skills in a babysitting situation. For her actions,
she received Safe Sitter's highest award, Safe Sitter® of the