Last night I headed to Red Shores in Charlottetown to celebrate a friends birthday. Shortly after we arrived there was a disturbance and a shout went up asking for if there was a doctor available to help. I have a limited amount of first aid training from a previous life (Tayside Police and Prince Edward Ground Search and Rescue) and went to investigate. Apparently an elderly gentleman was in need of assistance, with the belief being that he was choking. I saw another friend lifting the patient and attempting to perform abdominal thrusts ( aka Heimlich maneuver).
The gentlemen appeared to be unconscious so he was lowered to the floor as a team of two civilians and staff from Red Shores began to provide assistance. I tried to clear the patients airway, without much success as his jaw was clenched and it was impossible to determine what if anything was obstructing his airway. He worryingly started to change to a very funny colour. It became apparent that he had limited breathing through his nose, and after what seemed like an eternity there was a sort of ‘rattle’ and he was able to clear something small from his mouth and began to breath. Oxygen was administered and he regained colour and consciousness.
Time has a habit of slowing down in these situations, and in a matter of minutes, an ambulance from Island EMS arrived. At which point I left to enjoy the rest of my evening.
I’m got a lot of emotions swirling around in my mind.
- What could I have done better?
- Was the gentlemen actually choking? I didn’t see classic choking signs (eg hands to throat)
- Was he having some form of seizure?
- It’s interesting to see crowd reaction, there is a definite fear of getting involved, just in case you do something wrong.
No doubt I’ll be thinking about this in the coming days, and I’ll look at ways to improve my own response to these unexpected situations.