Klamath Falls teacher’s aide saves student from choking

Klamath Falls, Ore. – A teacher’s assistant at a Klamath Falls junior high school saved a student from choking with the Heimlich maneuver Wednesday.

Student Nash Vaughan says the incident happened in the cafeteria at Brixner Junior High. “I was eating lunch here at this table, and i started to choke on some french fries.”

Sandi Miller happened to be nearby. “Nash looked distressed, and was starting to grab for his neck – so I came over to him, and said, ‘Are you choking?’ and he shook his head.”

“And Miss Miller, she gave me the Heimlich, and she got it out,” said Nash. “And then I was okay.”

Principal Leslie Garrett says she’s proud of Miller’s actions. “She just took charge, and did what was needed, and didn’t even hesitate.”

Nash Vaughn says this isn’t the first time Miller has helped him out. “She’s always been really helpful with homework, and stuff like that, and she’s really nice overall.  Just a really, really good person.”

NBC5 pointed out to Sandi Miller that she might qualify as a hero after possibly saving someone’s life.

“I don’t know if I’d say ‘hero’,” said Miller. “But I would hope anyone in that situation would do the same.”

We asked Vaughan if he considers Miller to be a hero. “Yes.  Yes, I do.”

Principal Garrett adds that Nash Vaughan was checked out by the school nurse after the incident. “He goes, ‘wow’ – you guys really take this choking serious here at Brixner.’ – ‘we go, yeah, we do!”

Sandi Miller has worked as a C.P.R. coordinator with the American Heart Association.

Principal Garrett notes that staff members have first aid training every fall before school begins.

If you’re not sure how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, here’s a brief refresher:

First, make sure the victim is choking – they may be grabbing their throat, and unable to speak.

Make a fist, get behind the victim, and place the thumb side of your fist above their belly button.

“You want to place your fist right below the rib cage.”  Explains Cascades East resident Jon Spicher.  “And press firmly in, and up – and then try multiple times, if it’s unsuccessful.”

You can even perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself if there’s no one around to help.

You’ll find plenty of information on the Heimlich maneuver and other life saving tips through the American Red Cross, or online.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content