Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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March 10, 2014

Quick action leads to life saving move

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Pauls Valley firefighter Scott Woods didn’t think much about the message he recently found inside a fortune cookie; that is until it came strangely close to reality.

At the very same dinner where he broke open the cookie and threw away the message, Wood and PV Assistant Fire Chief Marcus Hamilton literally came to the rescue of a woman choking at the local restaurant.

Once the danger was averted the message from the fortune cookie became clear as it predicted Woods would do something important that day and another time in a few months.

On this particular day it was Woods who used the Heimlich maneuver to help the woman clear the dislodged food.

Both Scott and Hamilton agreed it was a highly unusual incident; one neither had ever encountered before despite all their experience with emergency rescue work.

“I’ve seen it on TV but I’ve never had to do it,” Wood said about Heimlich move.

After the incident Woods got another surprise minutes later after returning to the local fire station.

There he fielded a phone call from the same woman he had earlier helped.

“She said, ‘Thank you. You saved my life,’” he said.

Hamilton said the incident came out of nowhere as he was having dinner with his wife, their kids and Woods at the local Chong Wah Chinese restaurant in the downtown area.

As the group was about to wrap up their meal a woman and her young son were seated at a table in the restaurant.

“We were just about ready to leave,” Hamilton said. “She wasn’t there five minutes, if that, when she stood up. At first her back was to me so I couldn’t see what was happening.

“I saw (the son) grab her from behind. That’s when I knew she was in trouble,” he said.

“She was in obvious distress. She was choking and fixing to go down.”

Both firefighters had seen plenty of rescue situations as they then scrambled to help the ailing woman.

“I walked up behind her and started the Heimlich,” Woods said about the maneuver that involves one person standing behind another, locking arms and performing abdominal thrusts.

“About two times of that and the food came up. I did the Heimlich right underneath the ribs and the food dislodged.”

When it was all over the woman appeared to be in shock but otherwise OK.

She claimed to not need any additional assistance or medical treatment. Instead, she and her son remained at the restaurant as Woods and Hamilton and his family left for the evening.

Before departing they got a treat of their own from a fellow diner.

"There was a man there who saw what happened,” Hamilton said. “He bought our dinner, shook our hands.”

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