Middle school students lauded for aiding a choking classmate

Noah French Ranger-review Staff Writer
Sunday, February 16, 2020
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Left to right: Logan Stanhope, Mr. Cashmore, Marty Erhart and Caden Deseth. The three middle school students recently responded to a potentially dangerous choking incident shortly after receiving training from Ambulance Service Manager Mary Jo Gehnert. photo

Three Washington Middle School students recently had the opportunity to potentially save another student’s life.

The three students, Logan Stanhope, Marty Erhart and Caden Deseth were able to act on a newly learned lesson to help their choking classmate.

According to WMS principal Mark Goyette, the WMS PE teachers Ashley Scheetz and Taylor Cashmore recently asked Dawson County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Mary Jo Gehnert to come in and teach students about basic life service intervention techniques.

Although Gehnert had to reschedule her appearance, Scheetz and Cashmore still wanted to give their students some of the basic tools that they might need in the future, this included an introduction to the Heimlich Maneuver.

Little did they know, that introduction would come in handy when, about a week later, a student had food lodged in their throat.

In the hectic moment, one student ran to get a teacher, and two others attempted the Heimlich Maneuver on the choking student.

By acting quickly, these three students were able to dislodge the blockage, ensuring their classmate’s health.

“We really wanted to recognise all three of those students for their quick actions to try to save that classmates life,” said Goyette.

According to Goyette, occasions like this are very rare. He said that he hasn’t really seen it at all in his time at WMS.

“No one’s had to do the Heimlich maneuver on anyone or anything like that,” said Goyette, “It really, in my opinion, speaks to the necessity that everyone has a basic understanding of how to do these type of things,”

According to Gehnert, knowledge of basic lifesupport intervention can be incredibly important in emergency situations.

“It’s huge. It’s everything,” she explained.

Gehnert was very impressed by the sixth graders’ actions with only a very basic introduction.

“They just had the very basic knowledge. They knew what to do and they probably literally saved that kid’s life,” said Gehnert.

According to Gehnert, even in town emergency services have an average response time of about seven minutes.

Citizens who are knowledgeable in basic life-support techniques, especially CPR, can be a crucial help to emergency services.

“Seven minutes without compressions is a lot,” explained Gehnert.

Even after those seven minutes, patients might not immediately receive compressions once in the ambulance.

By doing what they could and helping their classmate before an adult could, those three WMS students were able emulate ideal bystander reactions in an emergency situation.

Reach Noah French at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.