Don't Miss This
UPDATED 02/22/12 6:08 a.m.
NORTHLAKE, Ill. (CBS) - Students at West Leyden High School school may pay a lot more attention to the Heimlich maneuver now that it saved one of their classmates.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports, Wojciech Panek, 16, learned the Heimlich maneuver earlier this year in a mandatory class at the school.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports
“I wasn’t really paying attention that much; like, ‘Oh, I’m never really going to use it,’” Panek told WBBM Newsradio, “and then, like, it came out of nowhere.”
The training came back to Panek in third period Wednesday of last week, when teacher Kari Stutzman was working on her Smart Board and thought she heard a couple of students giggle. But then, someone noticed that fellow student Simon Perez was choking.
“He got up like he couldn’t talk. He was, like, doing the sign where he puts the two hands around his throat that he’s choking. He started turning, like, really, really red,” Panek said.
Perez, also 16, told the Franklin Park Herald-Journal that it had all started when he ate a piece of an orange that was too big.
“This girl right next to me whips out an orange and offered me some,” Perez said. “She gave me a big piece. Something happened and it got stuck.”
As Stutzman ran to push an emergency button at the front of the room, Panek jumped off and ran across the room. He got Perez to stand up, turned him around and put his arms around Perez, with his fists clasped together just under Perez’s rib cage. Then Panek yanked back and slightly up.
“He did it two times, just to be sure,” Perez said. The orange “came flying out. It hit the girl in the face — the one who gave me the orange.”
Perez began to breathe again, and Panek walked back to his desk. Five security guards walked in and took Perez down to the office of school nurse Rhonda Kazmierczak.
In her four years working at West Leyden, she’s never heard of anyone performing the Heimlich maneuver at the school. She said she was impressed by Panek.
“It takes a lot of courage for someone who is not medically trained to react to that situation so quickly,” she said.
Perez himself attended Wellness and Safety class with Panek, and learned the Heimlich maneuver – as well as the sign for choking that he ended up using.
As for Panek, he says despite his calm and effective response, he is not interested in a career in medicine.
“I’m not really, like, into all that blood and all that stuff,” he said.
Mark Lawton of the Franklin Park Herald-Journal contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.
© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.