We almost lost “Papa Noel” yesterday!
When you almost lose someone because he has a piece of vegetable caught in his throat, it makes one wonder “what would I have done?”, and “Do I know enough?”
When I took the Ecuador Driving School, we had a mandatory two hours of intense first aid. The doctor in charge of first response for accidents gave the course, and he had plenty of gory photos to get our attention. I realized that I knew almost all of the stuff, but I was about 30 years rusty!!!
It was good to see it all in practice again, get my rusty brain cells to pay attention, and to realize, that in an accident, I might be the guy who has to step up and fix a problem.
Basically, the doctor said, you have three minutes to get oxygen flowing back to the brain, if you wish to prevent brain damage and death.
Well, three minutes is not a lot of time to stop massive bleeding, clear oxygen passages, and get a heart started—so, seconds count! YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME TO LOOK AROUND TO SEE IF SOMEONE KNOWS MORE THAN YOU DO, OR TO REMEMBER WHAT YOU LEARNED 30 YEARS AGO!!!
So...here's the story about Alfredo, whom you all know as Papa Noel. He was trying to swallow a vegetable, it got caught, and before anyone realized it, he was passing out. Now he is a big guy, who is incredibly lucky—He had Manual next to him, who is fully trained firefighter.
So...Manuel immediately initiated the Heimlich Maneuver—That's Great---but...It did no good!
Alfredo is such a big guy, that Manual could not correctly set up to pop his lungs, and thus snap the obstruction from his throat! By now, Alfredo is unconscious and is rolling over on the ground.
As you can see, a person would have to have extremely long arms and be incredibly strong to execute a normal Heimlich on Alfredo...
With no time to waste, they laid him out on his stomach and delivered a huge blow to his back—AND IT WORKED!!! Out popped that big ol' veggie...
Everyone acted so quickly, that Alfredo was back to his old self in a couple of minutes, and was able to finish his work day. It could have had a very different ending...Everyone kept thinking and got the job done!
So...folks...why am I writing this???
I got to thinking that all of our Gringo readers should locate several emergency trained expats, and have a few meetings where they all go over basic first aid for every occasion. This is especially true for the spouse who might wake up at 2:00 in the morning faced with his or her partner having a massive heart attack or stroke.
For example, the rules of CPR have changed...you don't just do compressions at a 15 or 30 per minute interval, YOU DO IT A A 60-80 BEATS A MINUTE RATE!!! YOU MIGHT SAVE A LIFE JUST BY KNOWING THAT!!!
Make a couple of calls, have a meeting, learn some stuff, and SAVE A LIFE!!!
OK!!! Here's more info for right now!
I have had to do the Heimlich on a number of occasions, but the first time I did it, I almost blew it!
Why? Because I didn't remember that the victim must be STANDING UP!!! It is almost impossible to do the Heimlich if you are behind a person who is sitting--get them up!
See Karen's comment...If you are choking DO NOT WALK AWAY! The universal sign for choking is to hold your throat between your thumb and index finger--stand up if possible. Get someone's attention!
AND, if you think someone is choking--don't be embarrassed to make a scene--Ask right away "Are you choking?" and "Can you talk?" If there is no answer--get to work!!!
There is no excuse for anybody not to know what to do next.