Police officers get a bad rap. Most people dread them on the highway and pray they won’t get pulled over, but for one woman in Austin, Texas, getting pulled over was the move that saved her life.
Officer Dustin Clinkscales of the Austin Police Department thought he was just conducting a routine traffic stop when he pulled over the anonymous woman on suspicion of using her cellphone while driving. But as he walked up to the car, he noticed the woman grabbing her throat.
“Are you OK? You choking?” Clinkscales says he asked her. The question saved her life. In fact, she was choking on a biscuit. He gave her the Heimlich maneuver and saved her. See below:
The story is a miracle but also brings up many important questions about what you should do when faced with a similar emergency. First of all, everyone should have some idea of how to perform the Heimlich maneuver and also to perform CPR. But even the most prepared person in the world is not thrilled with the idea of having perform it on themselves. That sounds terrifying.
But anyone who has ever had a moment alone in the house when they feel an apple (or their dinner) start to slide down the wrong pipe has had that moment of panic. So it’s good to consider. In this woman’s case, the first step would have been to pull over immediately to the right. Then she could either flag down another driver or try to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself.
It’s actually possible.
There are many videos that show techniques to help people who are choking alone. Here is one technique:
That’s a little different than the Heimlich, right? But it looks effective and is certainly better than panicking or doing nothing. Web MD suggests, “If you choke while you are alone, use your fists to do thrusts on yourself. Or lean over the back of a chair, and press hard to pop out the object.”
Seems complicated, no? Still, it is smart to prepare for any emergency and to be prepared to save our own lives if we have to. There won’t always be a police officer around to save our lives.