A Muskogee grade school was the scene of a life-threatening incident and a life-saving hero this week. A 5th-grader choked on some food. The News On 6's Steve Berg reports a teacher rushed in to help.
It was a typical Tuesday in the Goetz Elementary cafeteria, when Angela Satterfield noticed a group of kids crowding one of the tables.
"And, I thought, oh a commotion. So, I headed that way," said Angela Satterfield.
They told her Jose Lopez was choking, and Jose himself confirmed her fears.
"Of course he couldn't speak, so he shook his head. And, I asked him if he could breathe, and he shook his head no," said Angela Satterfield.
"It felt like I was just about to pass out," said Jose Lopez.
Satterfield says she had learned both the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR, but it had been a long time.
"It was 8 or 9 years ago, and I've always wondered, would I be able to do it?" said Angela Satterfield.
She did the maneuver as she remembered, and to her dismay it didn't work.
It had taken several seconds for her to run across the room and figure out what was going on and then several more to get in position for the first try. Already she says Jose had gone without air for close to a minute, and she wondered what would happen if it failed again.
"I was praying, please, please let it work, please let it work. Because it really was scary. It was a scary thought," said Angela Satterfield.
"I just thought I was about to die," said Jose Lopez.
Luckily, the second time was the charm.
"He went outside and played on recess about 10 or 15 minutes later," said Angela Satterfield.
Satterfield says everyone should learn the life-saving maneuver. Jose will remember this particular practitioner.
Since Henry Heimlich introduced the maneuver in the early 1970's, it's estimated that around 4,000 lives are saved by it every year. You might be surprised to know that choking is still one of the top 10 causes of accidental death.
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