Lori Ackley, RN, a Pre-Op nurse, sat down to eat her lettuce salad one day  in the department break room, just like any typical day. Her lunch quickly turned into a lifesaving experience when Lori began choking. Mike Pecora, BSN, a nurse in PACU, came to the rescue.

“I asked if she was okay and she kept coughing,” Mike remembered. “Then, I asked if she wanted me to do the Heimlich.”

Mike did the Heimlich (a technique used to clear the airways of someone who is choking) two times before that pesky piece of lettuce broke loose and Lori could breathe again.

“Mike doesn’t think he did anything heroic, but he saved me from the possibility of a medical procedure or passing out and injuring myself,” Lori said.

Could You Save a Life?

Heimlich Maneuver

The Heimlich Maneuver, now referred to as abdominal thrusts, is credited with saving the lives of 50,000 potential victims over the years.

A choking victim who can’t speak or breathe may need immediate help. Follow these steps.

  • Wrap your arms around the victim’s waist from behind.
  • Make a fist, and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim’s upper abdomen, below the ribcage and above the navel.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into the upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the ribcage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
  • Repeat until the object dislodges.