Certis Cisco officer saves man who choked on fishball
Security officer performs Heimlich manoeuvre on man choking on fishball
The Certis Cisco officer was queueing up for food at an Aljunied coffee shop on Sunday (Sept 25) evening when he heard the sound of someone coughing badly.
His training kicked in and he rushed to help the man, who appeared to be choking on his food.
Minutes later, the crowd at the Joo Seng Food Place clapped when his quick actions saved the man.
Mr Joseph Goh, 23, who has been working or Certis Cisco for three years, told The New Paper: "I was queuing up for ban mian (noodles) during my dinner break when a man, who was a little big-sized, started choking."
At around 6pm, the officer, who was dressed in his uniform, rushed to the man's aid and immediately performed the Heimlich Manoeuvre, which involves abdominal thrusts. (See graphic below)
He said: "I have never performed a Heimlich manoeuvre before. But I told myself that I must keep calm and think of how to save the man.
"After about three to five minutes of doing the manoeuvre, the fish ball that was choking the man popped out of his mouth."
SAVIOUR: Certis Cisco officer Joseph Goh said he focused on what he could do to help. PHOTO: ANGELA CHRISTINA PERUMAL-SCHOOLING
By then, a crowd was watching him try to save the man, who was dressed in a casual T-shirt and believed to be in his 50s or 60s.
Mr Goh said: "I was not nervous as I was not facing the public.
"All that was on my mind was to focus on what I could do to help. It did not occur to me that such a big crowd was watching me."
One of the people in the crowd, Mrs Angela Christina Perumal-Schooling, 63, called it a beautiful act of saving a life.
The pre-press foreman at Singapore Press Holdings was having seafood steamboat and wasabi prawns when she witnessed the situation.
She was seated outside the coffee shop for dinner, occupying two tables with 20 of her friends from church after attending a wake.
"My friends and I were eating at the open area when we suddenly heard a loud commotion coming from inside the place. We then saw the man's face turn red as he coughed, trying to get the food out of this throat," she said.
Mr Goh said that he administered a first set of 10 to 15 abdominal thrusts before performing the second set when the man did not recover.
Mr Isaac Lee, 43, a sales manager and one of Ms Perumal-Schooling's church friends, said: "The man's cough gradually got louder and louder.
"From where we were seated, we could see clearly that the officer was continuously pressing below the man's ribs when finally, something came out of his mouth.
"We were all very relieved when the officer managed to save the man."
Dr Karen Chua, 43, a doctor at Well Family Clinic & Surgery, said: "Choking cuts off oxygen to the brain. Without oxygen, brain damage can occur in as little as four to six minutes.
"First aid must be done as quickly as possible to save a person's life."
Mrs Perumal-Schooling said that once the man was saved, the patrons broke into applause.
She said: "A lot of us went up to commend him on his quick thinking.
"Even though it was his first time, I thought that he handled it very calmly and professionally. My friend who knew how to administer it did not even move as he was too shocked."
Mr Lee said that without Mr Goh's proper frame of mind at that moment, the man might have died.
In response to the public recognition he got, Mr Goh said: "I just feel so grateful and happy that I was able to save a man's life that day."
How to perform Heimlich manoeuvre
HOW CHOKING OCCURS
When food is swallowed, the epiglottis, or flap tissue, will normally block the entrance to the wind pipe. Unfortunately, sometimes food gets lodged there, causing choking and suffocation
1 Stand behind the person and lean the person slightly forward.
2 Make a fist with one hand and place it just below the rib cage, above the stomach.
Place other hand over your fist and lock it tight.
3 Make a quick movement, inward and upward.
The motion of the manoeuvre raises the diaphragm, which causes the person's lungs to compress.
The pressure forces the air out of the lungs and expels the food out of the windpipe.
ADAPTED FROM THE STRAITS TIMES