As we’ve had a couple of situations here where the Heimlich Maneuver has potentially saved a life in our office, it made sense to re-visit it as topic.
It starts out as a coughing sound. First softly then louder. Then gasps for air.
Your co-worker is choking. They need assistance fast. What do you do?
If the person can cough or make sounds, let them cough to attempt to get the object of the obstructed pathway.
At the same time If you are worried about the person’s breathing have someone else in the office call 911 .
If the person can’t breathe, cough, or make sounds, then:
- Stand or kneel behind the person and wrap your arms around their waist. If the person is standing, place one of your legs between his or her legs so you can support the person if he or she begins to faint or black out.
- Make a fist with your dominant hand. If you are right handed, for example, place the thumb side of your “right” fist against the person’s belly, just above the belly button but well below the breastbone ( at the diaphragm ).
- Grasp your fist with the other hand. Give a quick upward thrust into the belly. This may cause the object to pop out. You may need to use more force for a large person.
- Be persistent, repeating thrusts until the object pops out or the person faints.
This procedure commonly known as the Heimlich Maneuver works in most cases but in the event that you cannot dislodge the object from the victim’s airway.
It is imperative that Emergency 911 has been called at the outset of the situation as choking can result in unconsciousness and cardiopulmonary arrest.
Choking caused by foreign body airway obstruction accounts for about 3,000 deaths each year.
In most cases, quick action and a cool head can save a life.