Workplace first aider saves his wife from choking to death on holiday

Anne and Peter Dixon

A workplace first aider has saved his partner's life on holiday when she started choking in a busy restaurant.  By his own admission, Peter Dixon was a reluctant pupil at a St John Ambulance Emergency First Aid at Work course in Middlesbrough at the end of August. But a week later, Peter used these vital skills to save his wife’s life when she started choking on her dinner.

Life saving skills

Peter said: ‘I didn’t pay too much attention at first because it was noisy in the restaurant and I thought she was just coughing. Then it got much worse and people started to stare. The waiter was concerned and came rushing over. By now Anne was starting to change colour and was gasping for breath. So I gave Anne five sharp back blows between her shoulder blades with the heel of my hand as I’d been taught.

That didn’t seem to make any difference so I moved on to the next procedure which was to deliver abdominal thrusts. We’d tried it out in the class so I knew exactly what to do and it all came back. I stood behind her and put both my hands around the upper part of her abdomen. I then clenched my fist, placed it between the navel and the bottom of the breastbone, held my fist firmly with the other hand and pulled sharply inwards and upwards.  A piece of food that had become stuck in Anne’s throat came flying out.  She took a huge big intake of breath and the colour came flooding back. What a relief.  I thought she was going to die and I think she did too.’

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