Friday, March 6th, 2009
Heimlich saves a life
Card game at Celina tavern turns into life and death situation
By Janie Southard
Bob Grubaugh, left, and Larry Miller, both of Celina, are regulars at the mornin. . .
The guy's face was the color of new blue jeans when he fell forward choking last week at Roberts Town Tavern in Celina.
Thanks to the Heimlich maneuver and a couple card players this man, who refused permission to use his name, is sipping coffee again this week at the local watering hole.
"He was definitely choking when he tapped me on the shoulder. And his face was as blue as my jeans," Bob Grubaugh said this week during a break from the daily card game at the tavern. "He hadn't been eating or drinking anything other than coffee. But he was obviously in big trouble."
A group of guys get together at Roberts every weekday morning to play gin rummy and drink coffee. It's their version of an economic stimulus package, quipped Grubaugh, who was dealing cards to Larry Miller of Celina and others that morning. The soon-to-be choking victim was at Grubaugh's left "giving out a lot of grief on how I was playing my hand."
"It was about 8:30 a.m. when he tapped my shoulder and I could see he was choking. My mother would have said 'something went down the wrong pipe.' ... I jumped up and rapped him hard on the back three times. But it wasn't doing any good," said Grubaugh, a retired insurance agent and the color commentator on radio for Celina High School ball games.
By then Miller, a Crown Equipment employee who has coached Little League teams in Celina for many years, raced around the card table, and began the Heimlich maneuver as the man was losing consciousness.
According to Grubaugh, the choking victim has had heart surgery and presently uses portable oxygen. So the men had concerns that there could be damage in that area. It is often recorded that choking victims suffer broken ribs after application of the Heimlich.
"Larry acted like a seasoned pro," Grubaugh said. "I'm sure he saved (the man's) life. Julie (Roberts) called 911 but I know they could not have gotten here in time to save him."
How to Heimlich:
More than 4,600 people die each year as the result of choking on food or foreign objects lodged in the throat or airway, according to Ohio State University Medical Center statistics. It prevents oxygen from getting to the lungs and brain, which could result in brain damage or death after four minutes.
OSU statistics show the Heimlich maneuver, which is the recommended first-aid technique for choking, saves thousand of lives every year.
During the Heimlich maneuver, the rescuer stands behind the victim and encircles his waist. He makes a fist with one hand and places the other hand on top, and positions the hands below the rib cage. The rescuer then applies pressure by a series of upward and inward thrusts to force the material back up the victim's trachea.
- Janie Southard