A FIRST AID trainer from Hyde used her life-saving skills to help a man choking in a cafe.

Lindsay Spalding, who runs Daisy First Aid classes in the Fordingbridge, Ringwood and Wimborne area, had met a friend for coffee and gone to Boston Tea Party in Ringwood when the incident happened last week.

The mum-of-two is hoping what happened will encourage more people to learn first aid.

“We had literally just got our coffees and I heard the most awful noise,” said the 39-year-old.

“I knew straight away, I’ve been a first aider for 20 years, that someone was choking.”

She says she saw a man staggering to the toilets and recalls his face turning pale and then blue.

“I could tell by the colour of his face to be honest and he was clutching at his throat. Before I knew it I bent him forward and gave him the five back blows that I teach in my first aid classes.”

'I felt the panic rising'

The back blows, she says, in most cases are usually enough to dislodge the obstruction.

“I felt the panic rising because I thought it’s not coming out. It was obviously quite severely blocked because he then wasn’t making a noise and that is obviously terrifying. I had my left arm across his chest as I lent him forward and he gripped onto my hand.

“Then I started to feel his hand release. That really frightened me. I thought if he goes down he is going to become unconscious, his airway’s blocked.”

She had to do abdominal thrusts which helped to remove the food stuck in his airway. It is understood he had been eating a bacon roll.

Lindsay, who specialises in teaching first aid to parents and child carers, says it was a “horrible and scary incident”.

“I just remember this massive rush of adrenalin when I did the abdominal thrusts. I was like I have to get this out otherwise his life is in danger.”

Being in the 'right place at the right time'

Lindsay and her friend were not planning to go to Boston Tea Party that day but the other cafe they visited was busy.

“It really was one of those just right place at the right time.”

She praised the “amazing” staff for the care they gave the man afterwards. “The staff did deal with it really well.”

“I was so glad he went home safely to his family. With choking, people can become unconscious and if their airway is completely blocked that is a really dangerous situation to be in,” added Lindsay.

“I don’t doubt if I wasn’t there his life would have been in danger.”

Call for others to get first aid training

Lindsay says she would love for people to take up first aid classes and learn what to do in life-threatening situations when someone is choking or has anaphylaxis.

“Everyone should learn first aid,” she added. “Just knowing what to do while you wait for the ambulance is so important.”

Lindsay, who still works part time as cabin crew, was inspired to become a first aid trainer after a choking incident involving a 14-month-old baby during a flight to Orlando, Florida in 2018.

Luckily, after a few back blows the food came out.

She said: “What stuck with me was the distress of the mum. She just kept saying to me ‘I didn’t know what to do’.”

While waiting in the airport in Orlando she found Daisy First Aid and later got in touch with them. She started her local branch in November, 2020.

Lindsay added: "It is so nice as a first aider to know that what you are teaching does actually make a difference.”

“I’m so pleased I was there last Wednesday,” she said. “This highlights how important it is to learn those techniques.”

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