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Teenage Student Saves Classmate's Life With Heimlich Maneuver

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) 16-year-old Abby Koroma wants to be a doctor one day.  And the South Hills High School junior is well on her way:  on Wednesday she saved a classmate's life.  "He was just doing this [making a choking gesture] and spitting," says Abby, who immediately recognized that something was very wrong.

Some of her classmates thought 16-year-old Oscar Gonzalez was acting—after all they were in an Advanced Theatre Arts class.

"I have this bad habit of chewing on things," admits Oscar.  On Wednesday, it was a water bottle cap.  "I was just like chewing on it, and we were laughing about something, I don't remember. And then I inhaled it and that's when I started choking."

Teacher Victoria Scheffler  thought he was bending over to ask her a question.  But his panicked expression quickly told her the answer.

"He wasn't acting and it had nothing to do with what we were doing in class!," says Scheffler.  She grabbed him from behind to begin performing the Heimlich maneuver—then suddenly remembered her protruding front.  "I said, I can't do this! I'm pregnant! And Abby was there. She was there in a second.  It happened so fast."

"His legs were open like this," demonstrates Abby.  "So I put my leg between him and I grabbed him like this, and I just went like [demonstrating the Heimlich] four times and  … he just [spit] up the bottle cap."

Not a teenage boy's coolest moment.

"It was really gross, I felt so stupid, but thankful," says Oscar.

Speaking of Abby, her teacher says she's either quiet—or she's the jokester.  "And this was a moment of such serious, instantaneous reaction!  She did not flinch. She did not think about it.  She didn't ask a question, she just jumped up and barreled through the classroom to him.  It was amazing!" says Scheffler.

And if anything could make this story any better—just guess where the unassuming 16-year-old learned her life-saving moves?  At South Hills High.

"That's a great lesson for all high school students," says her laughing teacher, "you actually will use what you're learning in health class in real life.  You can save a life."

Abby could only respond with giggles when her classmates erupted into spontaneous applause—but, admits the adoration is pretty cool.

"I am really, really, excited, and really happy—and I am proud of myself that I did that— you know, helped another person."


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