A Perrysburg second grader may be alive because she and a school employee kept their heads in an emergency– and because the worker, Lisa Watson, had first-aid training.
The girl put both hands to her own throat– perhaps a reflex, but perhaps a deliberate signal to others that she was choking.
Mrs. Watson saw and rushed into action, applying the Heimlich maneuver and sending the grape the girl was choking on flying from her mouth.
Grapes, research says, rank third among causes of food-related death.
So there’s reason to be glad Mrs. Watson realized what was needed and did it.
Many others have done likewise.
Dan Aykroyd has said he once used it on Carrie Fisher. Mayor Eric Keckler of Fostoria performed it on a woman in a restaurant in 2012.
In 2013, Sandy Kraine, who does communications for Bedford Public Schools, applied it to a student.
And last summer, six months before he died at 96, Dr. Heimlich himself rescued a fellow resident at his senior-living community.
Anyone might have the opportunity to save a life– or need to be saved– the same way. Three things can be helpful if that happens.
The first is training.
While anyone can help, especially if there’s a Heimlich poster around, the better the rescuer knows what to do, the better prepared he or she is to save someone who can’t breathe.
The second is initiative.
It’s easy to think someone else, perhaps even someone better trained, will respond to a crisis. But if everyone thinks someone else will take care of it, no one will.
And finally, the victim shouldn’t panic.
There’s a variation on the Heimlich maneuver that a person choking alone can self-administer, and everyone should know how.
But a person who can’t breathe at all will pass out in seconds, so a choking person should seek aid if possible.
The Perrysburg Board of Education has honored Mrs. Watson, as we all should.
But for most of us, the best way to do that is to do as she did: learn the Heimlich maneuver.– Toledo Blade