FORT BENNING, GA – A medic’s training and split second reaction saved the life of a Fort Benning employee recently. On February 11, Martin Army Community Hospital’s Operations and Training non-commissioned officer (NCO) Staff Sgt. Tyler Twigg went to the Central Issue Facility (CIF) to pick up some camelback bladders. Turns out this routine errand would be anything but routine.
“While I was waiting for them to bring up the bladders, I noticed employees running around in a panic,” said Twigg. “I asked what was going on and was told they believe an employee in the back of CIF was choking.”
Talk about being in the right place, at the right time.
“I walked back, told who I believe was the OIC (officer in charge) that I was a medic, and he directed me to the men’s latrine,” said Twigg. “There I saw a man who was hunched over a sink.”
The choking victim was in distress as his colleagues had already tried, unsuccessfully, to clear his airway. That’s when Twigg’s medical training kicked in.
“I began the Heimlich maneuver and told another employee to call 911,” said Twigg. “After roughly five minutes or so, the choking victim informed me he could breathe, but still felt that the food was stuck.”
Undeterred, Twigg calmly proceeded to the next level of medical intervention.
“I had him lean over and started to do palm thrusts on his back,” said Twigg. “After roughly 5-10 minutes of this, he informed me that he believed the food had passed down. I had him sip on some water as EMS (emergency medical services) arrived.”
Twigg said he has never saved anyone from choking before, but his medically ready and ready medical training made it second nature.
“I just did what I would hope a bystander would do for me if I was in the same scenario.”