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Heimlich Maneuver in Sydney

March 20, 2011

Filed under: life,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 10:56

The wide body aircraft that I boarded an hour earlier at Sydney Airport returned to the gate after the captain reported a mechanical problem. He had not canceled the flight, but based on his comments and past experience, I was expecting him to make the announcement any minute.

Suddenly, I heard some yelling and commotion directly behind me. It was so abrupt and loud that I immediately jumped out of my isle seat. A rather small woman was trying to do the Heimlich maneuver on a large man. I later found out that it was her husband. She was frantically pleading for help. I had only seen the Heimlich maneuver on television, but I immediately took over. After a half dozen or so lunges, she shouted, “Stop, he’s okay!” Maybe she thought I was doing more harm than good.

While I was doing what I thought resembled the procedure, I was thinking, “What if the guy doesn’t make it? Will they come after me for performing a procedure for which I’m not qualified?” My instincts told me to act and act quickly and not consider such ramifications, although it definitely came to mind. Fortunately, he recovered and sat back down in his seat directly behind mine.

Flight attendants and medical staff rushed to our area of the plane, but it was all over by then. Minutes later, the captain canceled the flight and everyone exited the aircraft. The choking guy, nor his wife, said a single word to me.

1 Comment

  1. I thank you for being there AND for being a REAL hero. I’ve a similar story. About 20 years ago I was in a restaurant with a guest. I looked to another table of happy revilers whooping it up. There was one woman though that was in distress. I looked for a moment to understand what the situation was and I noticed not one at her table even noticed she was choking to death. I, as you, had little experience and had uncertainties plus I’d only had descriptions of the maneuver. I got up and spoke to the woman telling her what I was going to do – still – as those at her table did not notice. I did my job. The item was dislodged. She briefly and profusely thanked me. I said, “Your welcome,” and quickly left. I did stay at my table but, not one person came over. I don’t even think other patrons noticed or ??? maybe worse, as in your situation – cared. Thank you again for doing what you did.

    Comment by bstott — May 30, 2011 @ 20:27