Instructor performs Heimlich maneuver on first grade student

By Nicole Bell - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) – A teacher's aide in Louisa County springs into action to help save a first grader in her classroom.

Six-year-old Thomas Fuller was in a reading lab at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School on Friday when something went wrong. Debra Edwards, who's an instructional aide, was watching over the class.

"The other students were doing what they were supposed to be doing but this one child was just frozen in motion," said Edwards.

She called out to the first grader, but Thomas didn't answer.

"Then I saw his hands making motions and he was struggling in his chair," said Edwards.

She went over to Thomas. He was pale and struggling to breathe.

"He was not taking in air. You could see the look on his face it was like he was scared to death," said Edwards.

Edwards demonstrates on a teddy bear what she did next.

"I grabbed him out of his chair and wrapped an arm around him like this. I let him lean over because he's a little guy. I took my hand like this (hitting him on the back) four times" said Edwards.

But that didn't work; Edwards then performed the Heimlich maneuver.

"I just started doing compressions. It was like 1-2-3," she said.

A piece of hard candy flew out of Thomas' mouth. The little boy could breathe again. That was the first time Edwards performed the Heimlich on a real person. She learned the life saving skill more than 30 years ago when she was in the Navy.

"I'm tickled pink that he's going to be okay because he's a sweet little boy," said Edwards.

Edwards is expected to meet with the parents of the little boy she saved on Tuesday when school is back in session.

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