New Mexico

Las Cruces 5th grader saves friend's life by performing Heimlich Maneuver

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - A fifth-grader at Highland Elementary School in Las Cruces used the Heimlich Maneuver to save his friend and fellow  fifth-grader from choking in the school's cafeteria, Las Cruces Public Schools confirmed Tuesday.

School district officials identified the student as Josiah Barrera and student Barrera saved as Max Miller. The incident happened Thursday, November 2, 2017.

"I'm amazed Josiah was able to stay calm and jump into action so quickly," said Pat Christensen, the assistant principal at the school. "For a fifth-grader, he certainly showed wisdom beyond his years."

School officials said Barrera successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on Miller as soon as he noticed Miller choking on pieces of the fruit wrap he'd been eating. Barrera said, that although he's never been trained on the first-aid technique, he saw the Heimlich Maneuver performed on an episode of "Chicago Med," a medical drama on network television.

Miller credits Barrera for saving his life, school officials said. 

Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing and the LCPS Board of Education plan to recognize Barrera later this month at the Nov. 14 board meeting.

The Heimlich maneuver, named after the doctor who described the technique, uses abdominal thrusts to apply pressure to the bottom of the diaphragm, which in turn presses against the lungs, forcing air outward against an obstruction in the windpipe.

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