A 7-year-old elementary school student is being hailed as a hero when he saved his classmate’s life during lunch by using the Heimlich maneuver.
David Diaz Jr., a second-grader at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Binghamton, New York, swung into action when he saw his friend choke on pizza at school.
He said he learned life-saving moves from “The Good Doctor,” a TV medical drama he was watching with his father, David Diaz Sr., last year.
“If someone is choking or in danger, you always have to save them,” David Diaz Jr. told Fox News Digital during a recent phone interview.
“If you don’t, it can get really sad,” said the boy.
Young David said that he didn’t know for sure that he would be able to save his friend when he put his arms around her. But he hoped he could – because he was closer to the suffocating student than his teachers at the time.
Kristin Korba, a second grade teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, told Fox News Digital that David was sitting in front of the choking student.
“The adults were walking around the cafeteria, supervising,” Korba recalled. “David ran behind” [the choking student] and performed Heimlich. ,
“Right after it happened and checked I went [on the student who choked],” Korba said. “She was cleared by the nurse and the parents.” [were] contacted.”
When Korba spoke with David, he learned that he had seen the Heimlich maneuver on a TV show and made a note to “remember” it, as it seemed like something “important” to know.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the Heimlich maneuver, also known as an abdominal thrust, is a first aid procedure in which a person must apply pressure between someone else’s navel and rib cage to prevent obstruction of the victim’s trachea. can be removed.
People can inflict Heimlich on themselves or others in case of suffocation.
David’s bravery was recognized on June 13 when Binghamton City School District Superintendent Dr. Tonya Thompson and New York State Sen. Fred Akshar visited him.
He was awarded the New York State Senate Commendation Award for his heroic work.
“I am very proud of my son,” Diaz Sr. told Fox News Digital. “She’s an angel in my eyes.”
“If he wants to be a doctor when he grows up, I’d be happy to help him achieve that later in life. But it’s really up to him,” Diaz Sr. continued.
He said he hopes his son “will continue to learn from educational TV shows and become who he wants to be.”
Symptoms of suffocation and what to know about Heimlich
Choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death in the United States, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), a Chicago-based non-profit public service organization.
The council estimates that more than 5,000 people die of suffocation each year and food is often the culprit.
Symptoms of suffocation include a vigorous cough, gagging, wheezing, hoarseness and passing out, indicates the NSC.
If a person appears to be conscious and exhibits a forceful cough, spectators should encourage the potentially suffocating person to cough more to clear their airway before attempting the Heimlich maneuver, the council suggests.
The rescue team should ask if someone is choking first – and if so, to let them know if they will get help. According to the NSC, the Heimlich maneuver is performed when a pair of arms goes around the body of a suffocating person and is placed over the abdomen.
One of the rescuer’s hands should be clenched into a fist, with the thumb side facing the victim’s abdomen “just above the navel.”
The other hand should be held firmly before pushing on the stomach.
The abdominal thrust should be directed inward and upward in rapid motion, until the person doing the strangulation pushes the blockage out of the throat.
The process is slightly different for pregnant women and those who cannot have arms around their abdomen.
Chest thrust is usually recommended in these cases.
For infants and young children, the NSC states that rescuers should assist victims by facing down, holding their head with one hand.
The victim’s torso should be on the defender’s forearm against his thigh. The rescuer must slap the victim’s back until the food runs out of the throat.
Alternatively, chest thrusts can be applied when a young suffocation victim is lying on their back.
In this case, the rescue team must place two fingers on the breastbone and push hard until the person stops suffocating.
In cases where a suffocated victim becomes unresponsive, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and possibly automated external defibrillation (AED) will need to be performed until medical professionals arrive, the NSC says.
Families can learn to perform the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and AED from a local hospital, the Red Cross, or the National CPR Foundation.
Instructional videos are also available online to help introduce people to these life-saving techniques.
However, individual classes with certified instructors can be beneficial. Depending on the course provider, classes may be free or may come with a cost.