Waitress saves choking victim

Brodie Thomas
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CPR instructor says maneuver takes only minutes to learn

It was all over in a few seconds, but it could have turned out much worse.

Pat Skeard was enjoying supper with her father at the Tai Hong Restaurant last month when she began choking on a garlic rib.

It was all over in a few seconds, but it could have turned out much worse.

Pat Skeard was enjoying supper with her father at the Tai Hong Restaurant last month when she began choking on a garlic rib.

"This has happened to me before. I have a very touchy throat. I tapped the table for [my father] and he knew what had happened to me," said Mrs. Skeard.

The two were alone in the dining room, except for waitress Elaine Blackmore, who saw Mrs. Skeard pointing to her throat. She didn't think twice about going over and administering the Heimlich man-euver.

"I went ahead and did the steps I was told to do," said Ms. Blackmore, who had taken courses in class A and class B first aid last year.

"I was frightened to death but you've got do what you got to do. There was nobody else there so I had to do it."

The rib popped out easily, and before long, Mrs. Skeard sat back down to finish her meal.

Mrs. Skeard said she was thankful for the help provided, but didn't get too worked up.

"She kind of couldn't understand [my calm reaction] because it frightened her. It had happened to me a couple times before so I was used to it," said Mrs. Skeard.

Ms. Blackmore said she was a bit shaken after the incident.

"I went back and told my co-worker. She said, 'It was a good thing you were there because I'd have run away,'" said Ms. Black-more.

Todd Strickland, a licensed practical nurse and CPR instructor, said the maneuver, which is now called abdominal thrusts, is one of the easiest first aid skills anyone can learn.

"It takes five minutes to learn it properly," said Mr. Strickland.

He teaches abdominal thrusts as part of his CPR course. He encourages everyone to learn the move from a trained instructor. He said there are several different methods depending on whether the choking victim is an adult, child or infant.

Mr. Strickland said there are examples of people dying of embarrassment after choking in a restaurant. Many people's first instinct is to head to the bathroom rather than make a scene in the middle of a crowded restaurant. He said once alone in the washroom, choking victims can quickly become incapacitated if a piece of food becomes lodged more deeply.

He said if you suspect someone is choking and goes to the washroom, it's a good idea to follow them and make sure they are OK.

reporter@gulfnews.ca

"I was frightened to death but you've got do what

Organizations: Tai Hong Restaurant

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  • BE CPR
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    I strongly encourage parents and caregivers to take a quick CPR course. These 90 minutes can make the difference between life and death. You can find a list of courses nationwide in this non-profit web site www.becpr.org and share your experiences there.