He was choking and I knew how to help

There is nothing worse than seeing one of your loved ones suffering, so when Sue Harding’s step-father needed help in an emergency she was glad she had done a first aid course at work.

During a family meal, her step-father began to choke on a piece of steak. He was unable to speak or to cough and clear the obstruction so Sue sprang into action. Telling the story of that day, Sue says: “Once I realised what was happening my reactions were instinctive. I rushed to help him and luckily remembered everything that I had learnt on my first aid course about what to do when someone is choking.”

“I made my step-dad lean forwards and supported his upper body by placing one of my arms across his chest. I then gave him five sharp blows between his shoulder blades with the heel of my other hand.”

Continued attempts
Unfortunately, this failed to dislodge the piece of meat and in another attempt to clear his airway Sue started to perform abdominal thrusts (sometimes known as the Heimlich Manoeuvre).

“Standing behind him, I clenched one of my hands into a fist and placed it just above his navel. I brought my other arm around him, gripped my hand on top of the first and then I pulled in and up. I did it quite sharply and I was a bit worried that I could have bruised him or worse.”

After the second abdominal thrust the steak came out and her step-father was able to start breathing normally again.

Sue says: “It just goes to show that you never know when and where you might need to give first aid. If I hadn’t done the training for work I never would have known what to do!”

To find out more about first aid training courses run by the British Red Cross, visit: http://www.redcrossfirstaidtraining.co.uk