Glenview teacher saves student choking on water bottle cap

GLENVIEW, Ill. (WLS) -- A north suburban student is thanking her teacher for saving her life after she started choking in the middle of class.

Bella Tamez, 10, swallowed a plastic water bottle cap and she started choking.

"I was like 'I can't breathe, I just need to go to a teacher and get help,'" Bella Tamez recalled. "So, that's what I did. I went to the teacher and she helped me."

Washington Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Melissa Sagat saw Bella choking and started performing the Heimlich maneuver.

"This went on for quite a while, to the point where I really was worried I was going to lose this child," Sagat said.

Sagat continued the maneuver for several minutes until the school nurse, Terri Bauer, arrived and took over. They were able to move the cap just enough for Bella to breathe and get to a hospital.

"She was so fearful and so anxious," Bauer said.

The school's principal, Katherine Anderson, rode with Bella in an ambulance to the hospital. Doctors were prepared to surgically remove the cap, but it finally came free on its own.

Doctors told Bella her teacher and nurse probably saved her life.

"I told her thank you, Bella said. "If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here."

The Red Cross estimates 10,000 kids a year are taken to hospitals for choking, it's the fourth leading cause of death among kids.
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