Mom Posts Impassioned PSA After Her Son Develops Pneumonia Following Popcorn Choking Incident

A mom in Colorado has issued a PSA after her son’s choking incident led him to an emergency hospital visit — and scary consequent diagnosis.

In a lengthy Facebook post on Feb. 24, Nicole Goddard recounted a recent Saturday movie night at home when her 2½-year-old son Nash began choking on popcorn (a snack that is “frequent” among the family) but eventually swallowed it and all seemed well.

However, the little boy began showing signs of illness shortly thereafter, developing a cough that worsened over the weekend and came complete with a fever by Monday night.

“[It was] a very long night with him, and then his breathing looked a little labored to me and he just didn’t feel good,” Goddard wrote. “I called my pediatrician immediately and said Nash needs to be seen ASAP. We went in and got sent to children’s main campus immediately.”

The X-ray performed once Goddard and Nash arrived at the hospital showed something the doctor “didn’t like,”  which led Nash’s medical team to schedule a bronchoscopy for that same evening.

According to WebMD, a bronchoscopy is a procedure in which “a doctor advances a flexible endoscope (bronchoscope) through a person’s mouth or nose into the windpipe” to check the lungs, where they can also use tools to perform small procedures.

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After the procedure (which Goddard’s husband Jake arrived “just in time” for, after rushing home on a flight from a work trip in Denver), doctors found that Nash “had aspirated popcorn into his lungs when he choked,” she explained.

“The body recognized it as a foreign object and put [pus] pockets around it,” Goddard shared. “All the inflammation caused him to develop pneumonia in his left lung. … The dr got out 6 pieces. There was so much inflammation so the dr wasn’t [sure] he got it all so scheduled him to be admitted and repeat the procedure in 2 days.”

“The second procedure was done and once again poor guy had to be put under and rolled off to surgery. The dr met us when it was over and said procedure was successful and he got the last piece out,” she continued.

Following Nash’s treatments, the little boy “was a rockstar and recovered well,” passing an oxygen test that led to him being able to go home that very evening.

Reflecting on the harrowing experience, Goddard — who’s also mom to daughters Reagan Lynn, 7, and Ashlee Diane, 9 — wrote, “If I wouldn’t have trusted my instinct and brought him in, the outcome wouldn’t have been good.”

“All of this over popcorn which is eaten on a regular basis in our home,” she said. “I got a lecture of course on how popcorn isn’t supposed to be given to anyone under 5. I hate to use the excuse he’s our third child so I overlook and don’t pay as close attention to the do’s and dont’s as we did with our first.”

Goddard concluded her post (which, as of Friday, had over 52,000 comments and 137,000 shares) by asking for “no negative judgment” from commenters, explaining that she “wrote it as an eye opener for people to see how something that you think is fine can quickly turn into something bad!”

“Always trust your gut because it’s right!” she added. “I want to thank all who stepped in to help, whether it was taking our girls for a night, or letting our dog out. The constant phone calls and texts to check on us meant a lot. We have a lot of special people in our life.”

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