Principal performs Heimlich maneuver on student

Posted at: 01/28/2013 5:52 PM
Updated at: 01/28/2013 6:28 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Choking is enough to make anyone panic. But when this happened to a 12-year-old student at Eisenhower Middle School, the principal knew exactly what to do and rushed in to help.

In this case, the school nurse had trained the principal at the beginning of the year how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, something that was also taught to faculty and staff Monday after seeing firsthand how it can save someone's life.

"Some little children ran up and they said, 'Miss Deasy, we need your help,'" Principal Rosalind Deasy said.

She was on cafeteria duty when she saw a boy grab his throat. He was eating lunch with friends when he choked on a baby carrot.

"I leaned over him, his face was very red and there was just tears coming from his eyes," Deasy said.  "I said, 'Can you talk,' and he said, shook his head no.  I said, 'Is it okay to give you the Heimlich, brace yourself,' and he was nodding yes."

School nurse Janine Maydew trains any faculty and staff who are willing to learn the Heimlich maneuver and basic CPR.

"People choke very easily and very frequently, which is what led me to do the Heart Start training," Maydew said.  "A lot of people I think are scared, oh am I going hurt the person, what if I do it wrong, you know, and I want people to be able to feel confident to be able to respond to an emergency situation."

Simple, life-saving skills saved a child's life and turned his principal into a hero.

"My coaches, my teachers, my counselors, my nurse are heroes every day to the children here at this school in a number of different ways. This was simply a situation of being at the right place at the right time," Deasy said.

Watching someone perform any maneuvers is not sufficient training. Individuals must take a professional class.  Typically a class only takes a half-hour and in a situation where every second counts, it is well worth it.