A QUICK-THINKING carer has been praised for saving the life of a pensioner who was choking on his lunch.
Julie Anderson had served roasted ham and tomatoes to Donald and Anna Mutch, both 80, when she heard Donald struggling to breathe from the kitchen of the couple’s Stenhouse home in May.
Alerted by Anna’s cries, Julie rushed into the room, where she used the Heimlich manoeuvre to try to stop Donald from choking.
The 60-year-old, who has been a care support worker for Shaw Healthcare for ten years, said: “I heard his wife saying ‘Don, are you all right?’ and when I popped my head round the door I saw that he had gone blue.
“I gave him a back slap but nothing moved, so I tried the Heimlich and nothing moved again.
“He was getting bluer and bluer and then he just collapsed.”
Recent first aid training kicked in and the experienced carer was able to revive him by plunging her hand into his mouth to physically remove the food.
She then delivered CPR until the paramedics arrived, who took him to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for further treatment.
Julie, who lives in Clermiston, said: “It was amazing because you totally go into this zone where you don’t even think about what you are doing.
“It was only afterwards when I went outside that I stopped and thought, ‘I saved that man’s life’.”
She added: “When the paramedics arrived I thought I had never been so happy to see anyone.”
Thanks to Julie’s prompt actions, Donald was fully revived by paramedics and the father-of-one has now made a full recovery.
Fiona Motion, the couple’s daughter, said: “Words cannot express how grateful I am to Julie.
“If it wasn’t for her, dad wouldn’t be here today.”
Julie’s bosses have now nominated her for the Inspirational Carer Award through Shaw Healthcare’s annual Shaw Star Awards.
She said: “I am delighted to have been recognised by my colleagues at Shaw with the Inspirational Carer Award nomination but I’m more pleased to have been able to help Donald and his wife that afternoon.
“The family have been so kind and so grateful, which is really nice.
“I always make Donald and Anna their favourite meal – which is roasted ham and tomatoes – but now the tomatoes are always cut up into tiny little pieces.”
Michael Donovan, operations manager at Shaw Healthcare, said: “Julie’s admirable actions have demonstrated how dedication, care and level-headedness can save a person’s life. We regularly provide refresher first-aid training for carers like Julie to help them make informed decisions about providing care in emergency situations like this, but the situation still required quick-thinking and calmness, which Julie demonstrated in abundance in helping save Mr Mutch’s life.”
Mr Donovan said: “Our annual Star Awards seek to recognise the individuals across all of Shaw Healthcare’s services who have demonstrated excellence in their day-to-day work during the course of the year.
“These individuals are people who inspire others and deliver beyond expectations, something which Julie does every day.”