Teacher's aide saves 3rd grader from choking on pretzel - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Teacher's aide saves 3rd grader from choking on pretzel

Dupps and Palmer (FOX19 NOW) Dupps and Palmer (FOX19 NOW)

A teacher’s aide at Indian Hill Elementary is credited with saving the life of a 3rd grader who was choking on a pretzel.

The aide used the Heimlich maneuver to save the boy's life in a matter of minutes. 
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 17,000 children each year wind up in emergency rooms because of choking related incidents, but when Drew Palmer, 9, began choking on a pretzel his educational aide knew just what to do.

It was a normal day at Indian Hill Elementary Thursday as aide Joey Dupps watched over the students while they had their snacks.

Palmer was munching on pretzels when Dupps said he realized something was wrong.

“All of the sudden I saw his face kind of turning red and acting like he was choking on something, recalled Dupps. "He stood up out of seat and dropped to the ground.” 

Dupps, who has been trained in the Heimlich maneuver and other life saving techniques said he instinctively sprang into action. 

“I ran over there, picked him up, put him against my body and performed the Heimlich maneuver,” he said.  

The pretzel then popped out on the first try.

Dupps said Palmer was a little shaken, but OK. 

Palmer's mother, Kathy, said he runs a higher risk of choking.

“Drew has Down syndrome so he does have a narrow airway so it's something that's very much been on our radar, stated Kathy. "We still cut his food into tiny pieces and it's just odd because these are pretzels that he eats on a daily basis.” 

Kathy said she can't thank Dupps enough for reacting so quickly.

Dr. Chris Lewis of UC Medical Center said the Heimlich maneuver, developed by Cincinnati physician Dr. Henry Heimich, is a simple task that can save a life when seconds count. 

“The Heimlich maneuver is exceedingly important, said Dr. Lewis. "It's a life-saving procedure that's easy for virtually anybody to learn. Choking is a condition that can really impair someone.” 

To find out how you can learn the Heimlich maneuver and other life saving techniques visit www.redcross.org

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