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Student saves choking teacher in class

March 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A student in Cypress may have saved the life of his teacher when she started choking in class.Judy Rader tries to let her students know she's OK after what happened during English class Wednesday at Cypress High School.

"Her eyes got big and she started making a gagging sound," said teacher's aide Josh Selbe.

Rader had popped a few almonds into her mouth. One went down the wrong way.

"It was very scary," said Rader. "You think, 'I can't breathe. How long before I pass out?'"

Her teacher's aide, Josh Selbe, tried to do the Heimlich maneuver.

"As he was doing it, I could tell he wasn't doing it correctly," said 15-year-old student Sam Barrera. "So I ran up. He said, 'Do you know how to do it?', and I said yes. I found her belly button and went an inch up and pushed in."

Barrera said it took three tries to dislodge the almond, after less than two minutes without air.

"I was saying, 'I'm OK, I'm OK," said Rader. "I don't think he heard me because he kept going. I think he wanted to make sure I was breathing."

The freshman says he learned the technique after taking a special health course over the summer.

"It was heroic," said Rader. "What can I say? What if he had not taken that class? We would have had to wait for another person."

"It feels very good to save a life," said Barrera.

His teacher is still trying to think of a way to thank him.

"Any extra credit? Oh, there will be something. I haven't decided what," said Rader. "He doesn't need the grades. He's a good student, he'll get something."

What Barrera did will look good on the resume. He says he plans to be a firefighter.


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