It seemed like a normal lunch period – students were eating lunch, socializing, and talking about things middle school students talk about.
Then, a fifth-grade boy ran up to Diane Jones with his hands around his throat and indicated he was choking.
Jones, a cafeteria aide in the Neshaminy School District, Bucks County, was trained in the Heimlich Maneuver 15 years ago, but had never used it. There was no time for a refresher course.
“I turned him around and did the Heimlich, and out popped a plastic bottle cap,’’ said Jones, who has worked for the district for 25 years. “I just reacted. I think it was motherly instinct more than anything.’’
The student was taken to the nurses’ office, where he was checked out before a family member picked him up and took him for further medical evaluation. He was fine and returned to school the next day.
“I shook for about 20 minutes afterward,’’ Jones said. “I was afraid I might have broken a rib or hurt him because I really wailed away. But as someone said, ‘a broken rib is better than a child choking.’’’