When a woman started choking in a crowded restaurant, 200 people sat by not knowing what to do – but first aid-trained Keith McLavy dove straight in to help and saved her life.
Keith, from Leistershire, was on holiday in Minorca when the incident happened. He recalled: “I was eating my evening meal in the hotel restaurant – along with around 200 other folk – when suddenly someone shouted ‘Help me!’.”
He looked up to see a lady standing at her table in distress while her distraught husband slapped her on the back.
Keith said: “I ran over and immediately saw that the husband was starting to panic. I’d recently completed my first aid at work course and knew I had to act fast and take charge of the situation. My training had covered choking incidents so I knew exactly what to do.
“The lady was choking but not making a sound, which meant she had a total blockage. I asked someone to call an ambulance, then did the Heimlich manoeuvre along with back blows for what seemed like for ages.”
The situation quickly worsened. Keith said: “It got very scary because the lady started going blue and limp in my arms. Then, suddenly, she spat out a large piece of beef onto the table cloth and took the biggest intake of breath you ever heard!”
Keith returned to his wife accompanied by a tumultuous applause from the room. The woman seemed fine within a minute or two and, once the ambulance crew had assessed her, even went back to eating her meal.
However, not everything went exactly to plan. Keith remembered: “Afterwards the staff brought a brandy over, which I thought was a nice touch. But then at the end of the holiday it showed up on my bill.”
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