HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — A Henrico middle school teacher received an award for saving a student’s life during a medical emergency earlier this year.
Moody Middle School teacher Brent O’Dea received a special commendation from Henrico Fire Captain Daniel Rosenbaum and Community Services Firefighter Jon Reinmuth after a faculty meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Officials said O’Dea was teaching a class on February 20 when one of his student’s starting choking on a piece of candy.
“Mr. O’Dea noticed that a 13-year-old female student appeared to be in distress at her desk. Mr. O’Dea moved closer to the student and realized that she appeared to be choking,” said Rosenbaum in a news release.
Officials said when O’Dea tried to talk to the student, it was clear the girl was choking and not breathing.
When O’Dea asked the girl, “Are you choking,” the student nodded yes and used the universal sign of her hands at her throat and gave him the all clear to conduct the “Heimlich Maneuver.”
O’Dea got the girl into a standing position and conducted abdominal thrusts. On the third thrust, a piece of hard candy shot out of the girl’s mouth and she started breathing normally.
The child was taken to the nurse’s office as a precaution and her parents took her daughter home for observation. The student recovered fully.
O’Dea credited school nurse Maria Purcell’s annual pre-school instruction on basic first aid skills, including how to perform abdominal thrusts.
Henrico fire officials said that close to 3,000 people die annually from choking and that learning CPR and procedures like the Heimlich can save lives.