Columbus Teacher Saves Choking Girl In Cafeteria

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UPDATED: Tuesday October 1, 2013 6:06 PM

A Columbus City School teacher is being hailed as a hero.

He saved the life of a girl who had started to choke.

It happened in the cafeteria at the Arts Impact Middle School on the Fort Hayes Campus.

Eighth grade student Shelby Bray says she was eating lunch when all of a sudden she noticed she couldn’t breathe.

“I was pointing and banging on the table,” said Shelby Bray

Shelby says her friend realized she couldn’t talk and ran to get a teacher.

The friend told Pete Trautmann that Shelby was choking.

“So I looked up immediately zoomed in on Shelby. Her face was beet red, her hand right here and the other hand out,” explained Trautmann.

Trautmann says he immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver while a student ran to get the nurse.  After two thrusts, he says, she began to cough and could get air again.

“At that point I stopped because you realize air is getting through and the body is beginning to eject whatever is in the throat,” said Trautmann.

Trautmann says he is grateful Columbus City School’s nurses provide training to staff every year on how to handle a choking student.

And says this was the first time he's ever had to perform the maneuver.

Columbus City Schools says the nurse could have attended to the student, but the student may have been losing consciousness by the time the nurse got there, which would have been more difficult and scary for the student.

They say this is why district nurses started training staff on how to intervene if a student is choking in 2002. The training is required of teachers who cover lunch or breakfast duty, however, many schools simply choose to train the whole staff.

In addition, the district says nurses also offer medical disaster training to select staff.

Trautmann is one of the staff members who have received that extra training.

Something Shelby’s father says he appreciates.

“They are the emergency personnel if something happens before anyone official gets there,” said Shelby’s father, Glenn Bray.

Shelby says considering how far the nurse’s office is from the cafeteria, she appreciates that her teacher was trained, too.

“I was actually really thankful for that”

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