1491798783411 - Bystander uses Heimlich to save choking woman

Bystander uses Heimlich to save choking woman

A man used the Heimlich manoeuvre to save a woman from choking at Auckland’s Te Atatu night markets on Friday night.

Paul Ellis was standing around with his friends watching their kids play at the markets when he noticed a woman struggling with her food.

“I could see her husband was trying to stop her from choking somehow and wrapping his arms around her,” Ellis said.

“So after a couple of seconds of watching I went over and said ‘can I help?’, moved him out of the way and basically did a Heimlich on the lady.”

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Eileen Spring, 70, a grandmother, said she had just choked on some hot chips and was lucky Ellis was nearby.

“It brought back a memory because my dad actually died choking on toast about forty years ago.

“Now I know what he would’ve gone through, that could have happened to me if no-one was close by.”

The Heimlich manoeuvre involves one person squeezing an area underneath another person’s diaphragm and forcing anything lodged in that person’s windpipe, or trachea, out through the mouth.

Ellis said his workplace had put on a lot of first aid classes in the past but he had never performed the manoeuvre in real-life before. 

Spring created a post on Facebook thanking him and others called him a hero online but Ellis said he was “a bit embarrassed” by all the attention.

“I was just doing what I would have thought anyone else would have done,” Ellis said.

“Luckily enough I knew what to do.”

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