Feb 8, 2012 10:11 PM by Maddie Garrett

Life Saving Skills: A New Way to do the Heimlich Maneuver

Choking is the number five cause of accidental deaths in America according to the National Safety Council. But the rules on what to do if someone is choking have changed, and there's a new way to do the Heimlich Maneuver.

Two weeks ago, Monique Breaux was out at dinner with her family, when her mother started choking on a piece of food.

"So my sister starting yelling is there a nurse, is there a doctor, call 911! And they had a server who came and he said he knew how to do it," said Breaux.

Luckily that server was trained in the Heimlich and CPR. After a few seconds, Breaux said the food was out and her mother was safe.

"I was scared, was crying, you never know until you're in that situation," she said.

So if someone were choking next to you, would you know what to do? Registered Nurse Ella Beth Goetschius walked us through the steps of the Heimlich Maneuver.

She said first to ask the person if they are choking and then let them know that you're going to help them.

"Place your hands around the person. Make a fist with one hand, place the fist in the middle of the abdomen between the belly button and the breast bone. Put your other hand over it and do quick upward thrusts until the person coughs up whatever it is that's choking them," explained Goetschius.

But if the person choking becomes unconscious, the rules have changed. Instead of pushing up in the abdomen, Goetschius said it's better to perform more like CPR, minus the breaths of air. She said to lay the person on the floor, do 30 chest compressions, then open the mouth and check to for the object. If you see it, sweep it out. If not, keep doing compressions.

Goetschius said it's just as effective as the old way, and can keep the person alive longer.

"It has the added benefit in that it's circulating the oxygenated blood, and getting it particularly to the brain and to the heart," she said.

If you'd like to learn how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, CPR and other life saving skills, you can attend one of the Heart Starter classes on April 14th in the Cajundome. The classes are free and start at either 8:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m.



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