Teacher credited with saving life of 100-year-old woman choking on cough drop

A teacher in Hawaii is credited with saving a person's life after he helped a woman who was choking on a cough drop. (Source: KHNL)
Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 10:40 AM CDT
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HONOLULU (KHNL/Gray News) - A teacher in Hawaii saved a woman from choking this week on what happened to be National Choking Awareness Day.

On Tuesday, Honolulu EMS reports that a 100-year-old woman was in her car traveling on a highway when she started choking on a cough drop.

The woman’s family pulled the car to the side of the road and that’s when a quick-thinking good Samaritan rushed to help, KHNL reports.

“I just reached in and grabbed her, pulled her out of the car,” Ryan Roberts said.

Roberts, a school ceramics teacher, said he pulled over and performed abdominal thrusts on the woman.

“On the third thrust she coughed out the item and started crying,” he said.

Officials said the woman was taken to the hospital after the ordeal but expected to survive.

According to the National Safety Council, nearly 3,000 people died in the U.S. from choking in 2020, with about half of those deaths involving someone over the age of 74.

Roberts said he has known how to perform abdominal thrusts for 20 years but never had to use it until now.

“Minutes count when you’re not breathing. After four to six minutes you could have serious brain damage.” Jim Ireland, with Honolulu EMS, said.