Chesterfield student dies days after choking on meatball during lunch; parents seek answers
Josue Chavez Nolasco died in the hospital three days after choking on a meatball during lunch, according to his parents
CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - A Chesterfield family is searching for answers after their son died in the hospital three days after suffering a medical emergency at Providence Middle School.
On Wednesday, Karina Nolasco showed NBC12 the memories she holds close to her heart of her son, Josue Chavez Nolasco. Inside a box given to Karina are the pictures her daughter drew for Josue and his last heartbeats in the hospital.
Nolasco said her son took care of his family and was loveable.
“He took care of his sister a lot,” she told NBC12 in Spanish.
One week ago, Nolasco says she got a call from Providence Middle School that her son went through a medical emergency.
“I was working and I got a call from the school and they told me that my son had an emergency,” said Nolasco.
Josue’s father, Lee, rushed to Chippenham Hospital.
“A little later, he called me and said you have to come because Josue is bad. Josue is bad,” said Nolasco.
When Karina arrived at the hospital, she was told her son choked on a meatball during lunch at Providence Middle School.
“They did a lot of exams to see if he would react, but his brain was swelling too much,” said Nolasco.
Originally, Karina said doctors told her that her son went 20 minutes without oxygen in his brain, but found out more during exams.
“They did blood tests and the doctor told me the child didn’t have 20 minutes without oxygen to his brain, it was 40 minutes,” said Nolasco.
For the next three days, Nolasco said their family stayed by Josue’s bedside.
“He wasn’t conscious and I told him, ‘Papi, here’s mom. Mom’s here,’ and his tears started coming out and that’s what broke me,” she said. “I wanted to spend the majority of the time staying with him, kissing him, touching his hands.”
On Saturday, Josue passed away.
On Feb. 15, the following message was shared with families at Providence Middle School:
“I want to share with you that a student required medical attention during lunch today. I would like to commend our students for their behavior during this time, and I hope that you will share with them tonight how proud we are of them.
While the school schedule for the rest of the day will continue as planned, as always, our school counseling team is available to assist students and staff. Please do not hesitate to let us know if your child has concerns upon returning home today.”
Chesterfield Police also tell us a school resource officer rendered aid to the student.
Chesterfield Fire and EMS also gave NBC12 the following timeline about the medical call:
- Dispatch: 11:15
- Enroute: 11:16
- On Scene: 11:20
- Patient Contact: 11:21
- Transport to ER: 11:29
- At Hospital: 11:35
This week, the following message was sent out to Providence Middle School families:
“Good Evening Providence Middle School Families, I apologize for interrupting your evening, but have some important news to share and an important ask to make of you tonight. I am sad to share that we have learned that a 7th grade student, Josue Chavez Nolasco, has passed away. His parents shared this with us today and asked that I share this with you. We will keep the family in our thoughts during this difficult time. If this is a discussion that you would like to have with your child in your home tonight, we want to be supportive of the conversation as you talk with your child to reassure and support them as part of the grieving process. Attached are some materials that we use during times of grief. Please review these documents and use them as necessary with your child. We will have student support services staff members available at school tomorrow to assist students. Please call the school in the morning or email me tonight if you have updates about your child that we should be aware of for Wednesday.”
Josue’s parents said they don’t want to blame anyone, but would like to get more information about the incident, including the timeline of events.
“We we want to avoid this happening in other schools and that no parents have to go through what we’re going through,” said Karina Nolasco.
Through this, they’re hoping to spearhead change to prevent other parents from experiencing their heartbreak.
“Take care of your children because I don’t want anyone else to go through what we went through,” she said.
A GoFundMe page has been started for Josue’s memorial, which has raised more than $8,000.
NBC12 also reached out to Chesterfield Schools for comment on the timeline of the incident, but has not heard back on this portion of the request.
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