Teacher performs Heimlich maneuver on choking student, possibly saves his life

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A Bay County first grade teacher has been credited with saving one of her student's lives after a pen cap became trapped in his airway.

It happened on Tuesday at Waller Elementary School. Teacher Alicia Gunter was having her kids take out their math books when one of her students came up to her, forcefully grabbed her arm, and couldn't talk.

Gunter noticed his face was turning colors and knew right away what to do because she was recently trained.

"And I just looked at him and I spinned him around and I was like, 'This might hurt a little bit,' and I tried to do it not as hard because I didn't want to break anything, but I also wanted to help him," Gunter said. "And I remember just grabbing him and jerking him and doing the Heimlich, and then I hear him take that breath and I was like, 'Thank God!' And he said, 'It's OK, I swallowed it. I swallowed it."

Joe Wilburn, the school's resource officer added, "I got a hold of the nurse [and] we brought him in [to the office.] We figured out what happened, called mom and said, 'Hey, you need to take him to the doctor.'"

Little Hunter was taken to the hospital after swallowing the cap. Turns out everything is OK. He's already back in class.

As for Gunter, she said during voluntary training for the Heimlich, she was struggling to get it down. In fact, the instructor used her as an example of what not to do. She said she kept practicing until she got it down. And by the looks of it, she got it right.

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