Today we sit in the center of epidemics of diseases that are related to health behaviors - what we eat, how we exercise (or don't as the case may be), how we use (or abuse ) substances such as alcohol and tobacco and medications. Shouldn't every child learn as much about their bodies as they learn about the planets? As much about maintaining healthy behaviors as about religion? As much about first aid and the many ways they can help in an emergency as about baseball or football?
The woman whose life I saved last night was lucky that a doctor was nearby. None of the other dozens of people who surrounded her knew what to do. Those that tried to help her failed because they were doing the Heimlich maneuver the wrong way. A tragedy was averted. But by too close a margin. If the traffic had been just a bit slower, if I had stopped for gas when the warning light went on on my dashboard, or sat at my table at the back of the banquet hall - the outcome might have been very different.
If we taught people in school adequately about first aid, health and disease, preventive care of themselves and their families - there might have been twenty other chances for her life to have been saved. Instead she was saved by good fortune and, perhaps, some intervention from above.
After the comment posted by Dr Eric Gayle below of the Institute for Family Health, I have added the following information on the Heimlich Maneuver - figures are from http://health.allrefer.com website. Learn these techniques and you may have the chance to save a life.
Figure 1. For Infants
Figure 2. For Children
Figure 3. For adults
Figure 4. You can also do a Heimlich Maneuver on yourself if you have some food lodged in your windpipe.