Teacher saves choking student's life

January 20, 2011 4:38:08 AM PST
A teacher in southwest suburban Romeoville is not only impacting lives, she literally saved one.

Sixth grade student Jose Martinez-Correa thought he was going to die. But today he is alive thanks to his teacher, Ms. Kelly Cesaretti.

Cesaretti, a safety teacher at Lukancic Middle School in Romeoville, teaches the Heimlich maneuver in class. She never thought she would actually use it to save a student's life during lunch period.

Last Monday, Martinez-Correa finished eating lunch and started to choke on a cookie. He tried to tell his friends but could not talk or breathe. Cesaretti came to his rescue and performed the Heimlich maneuver on him.

"She did the Heimlich. I felt better. I'm still alive," Martinez-Correa told ABC7 Chicago.

Cesaretti teaches the Heimlich maneuver in her career class as a safety procedure and never thought she would use it on a student. She was on cafeteria duty when the 11-year-old started to choke.

"He was standing up and I could see that he was in distress, so I just went over there and did the Heimlich. He was very, very appreciative. His family was, also," said Cesaretti.

"When you're choking, it seems like a long time," said Martinez-Correa.

The teacher says when she was in the sixth grade she started to choke on a lemon drop and recalled how scary it was.

"I could not breathe. I couldn't talk. I panicked," Cesaretti said.

Cesaretti says learning the Heimlich maneuver is easy and it may save someone's life. She says after the incident the students in her class are more attentive and want to learn how to perform the procedure.

Martinez-Correa says his teacher is his hero. But he says he still needs to take the class to learn how to perform the Heimlich to save someone's life.