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US doctor saves choking diner with knife and pen

Published: 25th September 2013 08:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2013 08:14 PM   |  A+A-

By AP

A noted California doctor armed with just a pocket knife and a pen performed an emergency life-saving tracheotomy on a diner who was choking on a piece of meat.

Dr. Royce Johnson, Kern Medical Center's chief of infectious diseases, cleared the airway of Pauline Larwood at The Mark restaurant in Bakersfield, California, the Bakersfield Californian (http://bit.ly/16pAFWU) reported Tuesday.

Some of the nation's top doctors and other area leaders who were in town for a symposium on valley fever also were in the restaurant. Johnson is the chief of infectious diseases at the Kern Medical Center in Bakersfied. Larwood is a Kern Community College District board trustee.

A Bakersfield assemblywoman, Shannon Grove, said she and her husband were seated at a table with Larwood and her husband when she started choking on Monday.

Grove said her husband ran to Larwood and tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver. He called for a doctor and Johnson attempted the technique as well.

"She had already started turning a real like blue, her fingers and her lips," Grove said.

After the Heimlich failed to open Larwood's airway, Grove called emergency dispatchers and said she watched in amazement as Larwood was laid back in a chair and Johnson used a friend's pocket knife to make an incision in her throat.

"He didn't scream; he just said, 'I need a knife,'" Grove said.

As several physicians gathered around Larwood, someone called for a pen which Johnson then broke in half and inserted the hollow cylinder to use as a breathing tube.

The procedure was successful as Larwood was rushed to a hospital. Her son said Tuesday that Larwood was doing fine.

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