CORNWALL, Ontario – You never know when training as a swimming instructor will come in handy.
Just ask Traci Trottier, who received life-saving training 30 years ago and parlayed that experience into aiding a choking man who was dining at a Cornwall eatery on Sunday.
Trottier, who was at the restaurant for a little snack with her son Caleb Genier before an afternoon movie at Galaxy Cinemas, had to use the Heimlich maneuver on a man in obvious distress at Burger King on Second Street East.
“He was coughing and having a really hard time,” she said of the elderly individual. “Then he started to spit up a little bit.”
But it wasn’t long before the man began to have issues breathing. She was able to get him out of his seat at one of the Burger King booths and administered “15 or 20 thrusts” before the man was finally able to catch his breath.
In the meantime paramedics had to be called and whisked the man to the hospital, where he spent the night under observation.
The man was released from hospital Monday morning.
“You don’t want to see anyone in that kind of situation,” said Trottier, who is known to many in the city for her time as a local radio personality. “Just helping another human it gives you a warm feeling.
“I’m just glad he’s doing ok.”
Seaway News reached out to the family of the victim for comment, but they wished to remain anonymous.
Teesha Snyder, a shift supervisor at Burger King who witnessed the incident, said things appeared dire for a while.
“His cough kept getting worse and I told (a colleague) to call 911,” she said.
The man moves about with the assistance of a powered scooter, which Burger King employees kept at the restaurant overnight, and had ready for him when he returned.
“He looked like he was doing a lot better when he came by to pick it up,” said Snyder.
The incident mirrors a similar incident at Au Vieux Duluth in Cornwall late last year when another individual was saved from choking by staff members and diners.